What Is Radiation Medicine?

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation, in the form of waves or particles, to destroy cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Because radiation can harm healthy cells, treatment must be carefully planned and precisely conducted to minimize side effects.

Radiation therapy may be given before, during, or after other therapies in your treatment plan. It may be used alone or with other treatments to destroy cancer cells, shrink tumors, prevent recurrence and relieve symptoms caused by the cancer, such as pain.

The Radiation Medicine team plans your treatment carefully choosing:

  • The type of therapy
  • The dose of energy to be delivered (how much, over how many treatments)
  • The area to be radiated

Radiation therapies include:

  • External radiation - delivered by a machine outside the body
  • Internal radiation - delivered by a type of radioactive material (seeds, beads, wires or other substances) placed within the body near the cancer cells