Your radiation oncologist may recommend using radiation therapy in a number of different ways. Often, the goal is to cure the cancer. In this case, radiation therapy may be used to:
Sometimes, the goal is to reduce the symptoms caused by growing tumors, improving your quality of life. When radiation therapy is given for this purpose, it is called palliative care or palliation. In this instance, radiation may be used to:
It is important for you to discuss the goal of your treatment with your radiation oncologist.
Some patients are concerned that radiation therapy will cause another cancer. In fact, the risk of developing a second tumor because of radiation therapy is very low. For many people, radiation therapy can cure the cancer. This benefit far outweighs any small risk that the treatment could cause a later cancer. However, you should discuss the risks and benefits of all of your treatments with your treatment team. If you smoke, the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of a second cancer is to quit smoking.
Radiation therapy has been used safely and effectively to treat diseases for more than 100 years.
Radiation therapy can generally be delivered in three ways:
©Copyright ASTRO 2017
251 18th Street South
Arlington, VA 22202