Radiation Therapy

For nearly four decades, CARTI has been providing world-class cancer care by delivering the most advanced forms of radiation therapy available.

Radiation therapy is one of three modalities (forms) used to treat cancer. On average, about 60 percent of cancer patients are treated with radiation at some time during their treatment regimen.

In short, radiation therapy is the careful use of high-energy radiation to treat cancer. This type of treatment entails the use of penetrating beams of high-energy waves (or streams of particles like those used in X-rays) called radiation. Radiation therapy works by destroying the cancer cells’ ability to reproduce, in turn, allowing the body to naturally discard these cells.

The goal of radiation therapy is to kill the cancer cells, while posing as little risk as possible to normal cells. Radiation therapy can be used to treat many kinds of cancer in practically any part of the body. To protect normal cells, doctors carefully limit the doses of radiation and spread the treatment out over a period of time. They also shield as much normal tissue as possible by precisely aiming the radiation at the site of the cancer.

A cancer patient may be treated with radiation alone, or radiation therapy may be only part of a patient’s treatment regimen. When radiation therapy is only part of a patient’s treatment, it is called adjuvant treatment. The other forms of cancer treatment are surgery and chemotherapy, the use of anti-cancer drugs.

Patients can be treated with radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy before surgery. This may allow a patient to have less radical surgery than would otherwise be required.

A radiation oncologist may use radiation generated by a machine outside a patient’s body (external beam radiation therapy). Radiation also may be given with radioactive sources that are placed inside the patient (brachytherapy).

When curing the cancer is not possible, radiation therapy can be used to shrink tumors and reduce pressure, pain, and other symptoms of cancer. This is called palliative care, or palliation. Many cancer patients find that they have a better quality of life when radiation is used for this purpose.

For more information on radiation therapy, visit our glossary of terms.
The following are types of radiation therapy that may be used in the treatment of cancer: