Radiation Therapy

About this Treatment

Radiation therapy is used to treat some, but not all, cancers. About half of patients with cancer receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment.

Most radiation therapy is delivered by a machine from outside of the body (external radiation therapy). External radiation uses high penetrating X-rays produced by a special treatment machine. This radiation is planned very specifically to treat only the area of the body with cancer cells or where the cancer cells were removed. These specific beams will only damage and destroy cells in this area. The rest of the body will not be affected.  

Radiation therapy can also be delivered from inside the body, called internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy. Your radiation oncologist will decide which type you need. You might have it by itself or with other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.

Radiation therapy can be used to try to cure cancer, reduce the chance of it coming back, or to help relieve symptoms. 

Depending on your cancer type, stage of your cancer and how you are feeling, the radiation oncologist will decide what type of radiation therapy is right for you. 

When is Radiation Therapy Used?

Radiation therapy is used for two main reasons: to try to cure cancer (radical or curative) or to help control symptoms (palliative).

You might have radiation therapy:

  • Before surgery
  • After surgery
  • As part of a bone marrow transplant
  • Together with chemotherapy
  • By itself 

Breath Hold - Instructions

Please see the document below for breath hold techniques for patients receiving Radiation Therapy to their chest. 

Additional Resources
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    Breath Hold Techniques - For Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Remote video URL
What to Expect with Radiation Therapy

This video explains what to expect with your radiation therapy treatment.