Radiation therapy - BeatCancer

We do appreciate your time and input

Take the survey
No results found under “

Try adjusting your type

Clear search
Resources: 0
Events: 0
    Latest resources
    View 317 resources

    8 min read

    Radiation therapy

    Radiation therapy

    Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be delivered externally via machines outside the body, or internally, where radioactive material is placed in the body near cancer cells. This treatment aims to damage the DNA of cancer cells, preventing them from growing and dividing.

    what is radiation therapy?
    In the ever-evolving realm of healthcare, understanding various treatments and therapies is vital for both healthcare professionals and patients alike. One such treatment modality that has garnered significant attention over the years is radiation therapy. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the basics of radiation therapy, its types, uses, benefits, risks and the innovations shaping its future.

    Understanding the Basics: Definition of Radiation Therapy

    Explanation of Radiation Therapy

    Radiation therapy, often referred to as radiotherapy, utilizes high-energy radiation in the form of x-rays, gamma rays, or charged particles to damage or kill cancer cells. These cells cannot repair the damage caused by radiation, leading them to die and allowing the body to remove them naturally. First used to treat cancer in the early 20th century, today radiation therapy is a common means of cancer treatment, either used on its own or in combination with other treatments like surgery or chemotherapy.

    How Radiation Therapy Works

    Radiation therapy works by breaking the DNA of cancer cells, preventing them from dividing and reproducing. The rapid multiplication of cancer cells is what enables the disease to spread, therefore this treatment method is inherently integral in stalling or stopping the progression of cancer.

    Types of Radiation Therapy

    External-beam radiation therapy

    External-beam radiation therapy is the most common type of radiation therapy. It involves a machine outside your body delivering a beam of radiation directly at the cancer tissues. This type is often used when the cancer is located near the body’s surface.

    Internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy)

    Internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy, refers to the implantation of radioactive sources directly into or near the tumor. This allows for delivery of high doses of radiation with minimal exposure to nearby healthy tissues.

    Systemic radiation therapy

    Systemic radiation therapy involves radioactive substances that travel through the blood to locate and kill cancer cells. These radioactive substances can either be swallowed or injected, depending upon the type and stage of cancer.

    Get to know us better

    If you are reading this, you are in the right place - we do not care who you are and what you do, press the button and follow discussions live

    Join our community

    Uses of Radiation Therapy

    Treating Cancer

    Radiation therapy is a vital tool in the combat against many types of cancer. It can be used as a primary treatment, or in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy. Sometimes, it’s used to shrink a tumor before surgery, to make it easier to remove. In other instances, it’s used post-surgery to eradicate any remaining cancer cells.

    Managing Symptoms of advanced Cancer

    Radiation therapy is also useful in palliative care for advanced cancer, aiding in alleviating symptoms and improving the quality of life. It can help manage pain, bleeding, or other symptoms caused by a large tumor mass.

    Uses beyond Cancer Treatment

    Whilst most renowned for cancer treatment, radiation therapy also has uses beyond this scope. It can be used for treating noncancerous conditions like thyroid disease, certain types of blood disorders, and abnormal blood vessels.

    The Process of Radiation Therapy


    Like any treatment method, radiation therapy begins with a consultation. During this meeting, the radiation oncologist discusses the recommendations, laying out the benefits, risks and logistics of the treatment.

    Treatment Planning

    This involves utilizing a machine known as a simulator which creates a treatment plan unique to each patient. Intensive measurements and imaging studies are taken to position the body correctly and determine the precise location for the radiation to hit.

    Delivery of the Treatment

    Once the plan is set, the treatment phase begins. Each treatment session is fast, most often lasting just a few minutes. The quantity of sessions differs from patient to patient, depending on the type and stage of cancer.

    Follow-up Care

    Following the treatment sessions, regular check-ups are scheduled to monitor the patient’s response to the therapy, manage any side effects, and check for signs of recurrence.

    Benefits and Risks of Radiation Therapy


    Radiation therapy has the capacity to eliminate many types of cancer, reduce tumors, and alleviate symptoms caused by the cancer. It has potentially fewer side effects compared to systemic treatments like chemotherapy as it targets only the specified area, sparing surrounding healthy tissue.

    Potential Side Effects

    Like any treatment option, radiation therapy presents potential side effects. These may include fatigue, skin problems, hair loss, appetite changes, and trouble swallowing. Most side effects are manageable and temporary, subsiding after the completion of treatment.

    How to Manage the Side Effects

    Effective communication with your healthcare team is vital in managing side effects. They can provide medications, dietary suggestions, and other supportive care strategies to help manage any side effects experienced.

    Innovations in Radiation Therapy

    Latest Techniques and Devices

    Advancements in technology have greatly benefitted radiation therapy. Modern techniques like stereotactic radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and the use of proton therapy are improving the precision and reducing side effects. Additionally, developments in imaging technology are enhancing the delivery of radiation to tumors and cancer cells.

    The Future of Radiation Therapy

    As we move forward within the technological era, radiation therapy will continue to evolve and improve. Increased precision, lesser side effects, and expanded capabilities for treating various types of cancer are on the horizon.


    In conclusion, radiation therapy is an effective way of treating many types of cancer. It offers several benefits and manageable side effects, with the potential to save lives and improve the quality of life for those with advanced cancer. The ever-evolving world of medical technology continues to advance this form of therapy, metering in hope for a future of improved outcomes for cancer patients.


    • What exactly is radiation therapy?

    Radiation therapy is a therapeutic technique involving the use of high-energy radiation to harm or kill cancer cells.

    • Is radiation therapy used only for cancer treatment?

    Whilst predominantly used for cancer treatment, radiation therapy is also utilized for treating other ailments such as thyroid disease, certain types of blood disorders, and abnormal blood vessels.

    • What are the potential side effects of radiation therapy?

    Potential side effects include fatigue, skin problems, hair loss, changes in appetite, and difficulty swallowing. However, most are temporary and subside after treatment.

    • How does the process of radiation therapy work?

    The process involves a consultation, a treatment planning phase where measurements and imaging studies are conducted, the actual delivery of treatment, and then follow-up care.

    • What technological advancements are there in radiation therapy?

    Technological advancements include modern techniques like stereotactic radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy, as well as enhanced imaging technology for better precision in delivering the radiation.


    Thank you. Comment sent for approval.

    Something is wrong, try again later

    The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

    Dalai Lama


    (113,661 ratings)

    Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Dalai Lama shows us how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Happiness
    • Spirituality

    Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

    Thich Nhat Hanh


    (266 ratings)

    World-renowned Zen master, esteemed peace activist, spiritual luminary, and prolific author Thich Nhat Hanh offers a profound guide on how to extract serenity from even the most seemingly vexing circumstances.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Mindfulness
    • Buddhism
    • Health

    The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

    Don Miguel Ruiz


    (356,189 ratings)

    In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Self-help
    • Wisdom


    Marcus Aurelius


    (218,200 ratings)

    Nearly two thousand years after it was written, Meditations remains profoundly relevant for anyone seeking to lead a meaningful life.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Philosophy
    • Stoicism

    The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

    Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté


    (719 ratings)

    Everyone needs resilience, and now two expert psychologists share seven proven techniques for enhancing our capacity to weather even the cruelest setbacks.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Psychology
    • Resilience

    Cancer Vixen: A True Story

    Marisa Acocella Marchetto


    (1,511 ratings)

    The groundbreaking graphic memoir that inspires breast cancer patients to fight back—and do so with style.

    • Cancer
    • Health
    • Memoir
    • Graphic Novel

    The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery

    Rebecca Katz


    (669 ratings)

    This new and revised edition of the IACP award-winning cookbook brings the healing power of delicious, nutritious foods to those whose hearts and bodies crave a revitalizing meal, through 150 new and updated recipes.

    • Cancer
    • Health
    • Nutrition
    • Cookbook

    The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

    Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams


    (54,273 ratings)

    In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness's eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a single burning question: How do we find joy in the face of life's inevitable suffering?

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Happiness
    • Spirituality

    When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

    Pema Chödrön


    (52,911 ratings)

    In the face of life's most challenging moments, when fear, anxiety, and pain threaten to overwhelm us, Pema Chödrön presents a radical yet profoundly transformative approach to living our lives.

    • Life and Personal Development
    • Buddhism
    • Self-help
    The Truth about Cancer What You Need to Know about Cancer's History, Treatment, and Prevention

    The Truth about Cancer: What You Need to Know about Cancer’s History, Treatment, and Prevention

    Ty M. Bollinger


    (500 ratings)

    New in paperback: the controversial bestseller from one of health care's most passionate and outspoken advocates that reveals what we need to know about cancer to protect ourselves, treat ourselves, and even save our lives.

    • Cancer
    • Health

    Get to know
    us better!!

    If you are reading this, you are in the right place - we do not care who you are and what you do, press the button and follow discussions live!!