Radiation therapy is the treatment of cancer with ionizing radiation or x-rays that are stronger to destroy or damage malignant cells. This is a common course of treatment for cancer patients and can effectively treat many types of cancer. In some cases it may be used in combination with surgery and chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy may be used to treat and localize solid tumors, such as cancer of the skin, tongue, larynx, brain, breast, uterus or cervix. External beam radiotherapy uses linear accelerators and betatron machines to focus a stream of high-energy radiation to the affected body part or target tissue. It is used to shrink the tumor, prevent the cancer from coming back and destroy the cancer. Your doctor will design a treatment just for you. Treatments are usually from several days to weeks.
Types of radiation therapy
Options for radiation therapy include high-dose radiation (HDR), outpatient external beam radiation therapy, brachytherapy/internal radiation therapy, MammoSite for breast cancer, and more. Types of radiation therapy >>
Radiation therapy is a treatment option for many types of cancers, from bladder and prostate cancer to gynecologic and skin cancer, and many more. Explore our guides to radiation therapy for cancers of specific body areas. Disease-specific information >>
What to expect
Read our guides to radiation therapy, including questions to ask your doctor, treatment planning, and the recovery process after treatment. What to expect with radiation therapy >>
Radiation therapy dictionary
Learn more about terms and procedures used in radiation therapy. Radiation therapy dictionary >>