Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. At low doses, radiation is used in x-rays to see inside your body, as with x-rays of your teeth or broken bones.
At UAMS, our experts provide the following facts about radiation therapy:
- Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA.
- Radiation therapy can damage normal cells as well as cancer cells. Therefore, treatment must be carefully planned to minimize side effects.
- The radiation used for cancer treatment may come from a machine outside the body, or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near tumor cells or injected into the bloodstream.
- A patient may receive radiation therapy before, during or after surgery, depending on the type of cancer being treated.
- For certain types of cancer, radiation therapy alone is the best treatment. However, radiation is often used in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy or both, and survival rates for combination therapy in these cases are greater than for any single type of therapy.