What is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy uses radiation–energy in the form of waves or particles–that can target and destroy cancer cells. X-rays and gamma rays are electromagnetic waves of radiation, as is visible light. Particulate radiation includes alpha and beta radiation. The types of radiation capable of producing ions in matter are collectively referred to as "ionizing radiation."
Radiation therapy offers many options for cancer patients because treatment can be tailored to each person, in a way that minimizes negative effects on the rest of the body. There are three distinct ways to receive this treatment:
- External radiation the use of a machine to target a tumor with high-energy rays.
- Low-dose brachytherapy places a radioactive substance directly into or near the tumor. This radiation may be delivered through needles, seeds, wires or catheters.
- High-dose brachytherapy places high-intensity radiation sources into or near a tumor for a brief period of time. Some of the advantages include reduced treatment time, reduced radiation exposure, and improved dosimetry (coverage of the cancer region with radiation).
The Department of Radiation Oncology at Roswell Park is devoted to being the regional leader in innovative treatment methodologies supported by research and multidisciplinary partnerships. Our team of specialists include board certified physicians, physicists, and dosimetrists. These specialists work closely with our physician assistants, registered nurses, radiation therapists and other support staff to develop a customized treatment plan specifically for you.