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Terk Oncology Icon FACTS ABOUT RADIATION THERAPY

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What is radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy is the use of high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. It works just like a regular X-ray only with higher doses of radiation.

Radiation therapy can be delivered externally and internally. The majority of cancers are treated with external radiation. During external beam radiation therapy, radiation beams are emitted from a machine called a linear accelerator. The beams are aimed at the tumor (either where it is or where it was before surgery and/or chemotherapy). You don't see it, feel it, or taste it; it is completely invisible. To minimize side effects, treatments are typically given five days a week, Monday through Friday, for a number of weeks. This allows enough radiation to get into the body to kill the cancer while giving healthy cells time to recover.

Is radiation therapy safe?

Radiation has been used successfully to treat patients for more than 100 years. Over that time, many advances have been made to ensure that radiation therapy is safe and effective. Before you begin receiving radiation therapy, your radiation oncology team will carefully tailor your plan to make sure you receive safe and accurate treatment. Treatment will be carefully planned to focus on the cancer while avoiding healthy organs and tissue in the area. Throughout your treatment, members of your team will check and re-check your plan. Special computers are also used to monitor and double-check the treatment equipment to ensure that you’re receiving the proper treatment. Radiation therapy will not make you radioactive after treatment.

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