Cancer treatment may vary depending upon the type of cancer, the stage of cancer, and the goal of treatment. Often, one or more treatment modalities may be used in order to provide the most complete treatment for the patient. Increasingly, it is common to use several treatment modalities concurrently (together) or in sequence. This is referred to as multi-modality treatment of the cancer and the modalities may include surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and/or radiation therapy. For the majority of newly diagnosed cancer patients, the optimal treatment may be a multi-modality approach composed of standard therapies that have been established through extensive medical research. For other patients, the most appropriate therapy may still be under investigation and may be available only through a clinical trial.
Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA in the cancer cell, thereby disabling the cancer cells from reproducing and growing. The cancer cells then die and the cancer shrinks. The objective of radiation therapy is to kill enough cancer cells to maximize the probability of cure and minimize the side effects. Under some circumstances, radiation therapy may also be used as palliation, or palliative care, which is aimed at reducing symptoms but not curing the underlying disease.
Radiation is usually administered in the form of high-energy beams that deposit the radiation dose in the body where cancer cells are located. Radiation therapy, unlike chemotherapy, is considered a local treatment. This means that cancer cells are only killed at the location in the body where the radiation is delivered, called the radiation field. If cancer exists outside the radiation field, those cancer cells are not destroyed by the radiation.
The following is a general overview of radiation therapy, covering:
Techniques for Delivering Radiation Therapy
What to Expect during Radiation Treatment
Side Effects of Radiation Therapy
Prevention and Management of Radiation Side Effects
Frequently Asked Questions
June 7th, 2016
The use of the chemotherapy agent Temodar (temozolomide) following radiation therapy significantly improves time to cancer progression and overall survival among patients with newly diagnosed anaplastic glioma without 1p/19q co-deletions. These results were recently presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Anaplastic gliomas are a type of brain […]
May 18th, 2016
The addition of radiation therapy to androgen-deprivation therapy among men with prostate cancer who are at a high risk of a cancer recurrence significantly improves long-term survival. These results were recently published in the journal of European Urology. Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men aside from skin cancer. An estimated 220,800 […]
March 14th, 2016
Patients with prostate cancer considering radiation therapy should now be informed that radiotherapy raises the risk of developing a secondary cancer. Prostate cancer patients who undergo radiotherapy raise their risk of getting other cancers by nearly 70 percent, according to the results of a new study. There is a well-documented association between exposure to radiation […]
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The information contained above is general in nature and is not intended as a guide to self-medication by consumers or meant to substitute for advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. The reader is advised to consult with a physician or other medical professional and to check product information (including packaging inserts) for changes and new information regarding dosage, precautions, and contra indication before administering any drug, herb, supplement, compound, therapy or treatment discussed herein. Neither the editors nor the publisher accepts any responsibility for the accuracy of the information or consequences from the use or misuse of the information contained herein.
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