Radiation Therapy for Cancer
What is radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells (tumors). Radiation damages the genetic material of cells in the area being treated, leaving the cells unable to continue to grow. Although radiation damages normal cells as well as cancer cells, the normal cells usually can repair themselves and function, while the cancer cells cannot.
Radiation therapy is used for many different types of cancers, such as bladder cancer, endometrial cancer, and prostate cancer.
What types of radiation therapy are there?
Radiation is delivered in one of two ways.
Does radiation therapy have side effects?
Radiation therapy has side effects. The most common ones include:
If the cancer being treated is in your abdomen or pelvic area, you may also experience:
If the cancer being treated is in your chest, you may also experience:
If the cancer being treated is in your head or neck, you may also experience:
How long do side effects last?
Side effects generally go away after the treatment is finished but can be quite disabling during treatment.
Long-term effects of radiation in the pelvic area or abdomen can include:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Get the latest treatment options.