Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is a common treatment option for cancer.
There are three general types of radiation therapy:
- Internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy is an internal treatment that provides a high intensity radiation dosage inside or adjacent to the tumor or cancer.
- External beam radiation therapy delivers a radiation beam from a machine outside your body directed at the affected area.
- Radiopharmaceuticals are radioactive medications given through an IV (i)ntravenous, in pill form, or are placed in a body cavity.
If you are in need of cancer treatment in Arizona, rely on our team of expert oncologists at Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center to provide specialized care with humankindness. We are dedicated to designing a treatment plan to fit your specific needs with the most advanced technology available. Find a Doctor near you today or call (844) 214-5236.
Reasons for Using Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy can be used in different ways depending on the stage and type of your cancer. Your doctor may use radiation therapy to:
- Kill a tumor
- Shrink a tumor in order to surgically remove it
- Shrink a tumor to ease cancer symptoms, including pain
- Lower the risk that cancer will grow again after other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy
Risks & Complications of Radiation Therapy
Radiation kills normal cells as well as cancer cells, so side effects can vary greatly. Your radiation oncology team at Dignity Health will determine how to deliver radiation effectively in a way that minimizes your side effects.
General risks include:
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Skin irritation, dryness, itching, peeling or blistering
- Hair loss
- Difficulty swallowing
- Joint problems
Because side effects vary depending on the type, location, and dose of the radiation, talk to your doctor about the specific risks of your therapy.
Radiation Therapy at Dignity Health: What to Expect
At Dignity Health we provide comprehensive radiation options, including Gamma Knife, Cyberknife, brachytherapy, IMRT, and external beam therapy. Our oncologists, radiologists, and cancer care specialists will work with you to devise a treatment plan specifically for you. Your recovery is also fully supported by our team of social workers, dieticians, pharmacists, and spiritual care experts.
After your first radiation therapy treatment, you will most likely feel normal. However, side effects may develop after several treatments. Talk to your doctor about any precautions you may need to take before and after treatment.
Dignity Health provides compassionate cancer care using the most advanced cancer treatment techniques available, including radiation therapy, in Arizona.