For more than 100 years, radiation has been an effective treatment for cancer. Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation oncologists specialize in the use of radiation therapy to treat cancer.
In fact, radiation therapy is one of the most fundamental cancer treatments.
About two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment at some point during their disease.
At high doses, radiation therapy kills cancer cells or slows their growth by damaging their DNA. It takes days or weeks of treatment before DNA is damaged enough for cancer cells to die.
There are two main types of radiation therapy, external beam and internal.
External beam radiation therapy comes from a machine that aims radiation at your cancer.
Internal radiation therapy is a treatment in which a source of radiation is put inside your body. The radiation source can be solid or liquid.
Radiosurgery is a different type of radiation therapy. The surgeon uses radiation energy to create an effect at a very precise location in the brain just like using electric energy to cut through tissue or close blood vessels.