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Radiation Therapy

Also called: Brachytherapy, Radiotherapy
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Summary

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment. It uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from spreading. About half of all cancer patients receive it. The radiation may be external, from special machines, or internal, from radioactive substances that a doctor places inside your body. The type of radiation therapy you receive depends on many factors, including

  • The type of cancer
  • The size of the cancer
  • The cancer's location in the body
  • How close the cancer is to normal tissues that are sensitive to radiation
  • How far into the body the radiation needs to travel
  • Your general health and medical history
  • Whether you will have other types of cancer treatment
  • Other factors, such as your age and other medical conditions

Radiation therapy can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells. Treatment must be carefully planned to minimize side effects. Common side effects include skin changes and fatigue. Other side effects depend on the part of your body being treated.

Sometimes radiation is used with other treatments, like surgery or chemotherapy.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

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  • Easy-to-Read (American Cancer Society)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Living With

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Related Issues

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health Easy-to-Read (National Cancer Institute) - PDF Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
  • (International Radiosurgery Support Association)
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Specifics

  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)
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  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)
  • (American Society for Radiation Oncology)
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  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America)

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

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  • (American College of Radiology)
  • (American Society for Radiation Oncology)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in
  • (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in

Children

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Teenagers

  • (Nemours Foundation)

Patient Handouts