What is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation is a form of electromagnetic energy that can cause changes in human tissue. It has been used in the medical setting since the early 1900s and is also known as X-ray therapy. Because the energy used in treatment travels at the speed of light and cannot be detected by the senses, there is no sensation produced during radiation treatment (i.e., pain, cold, heat, stinging, etc.).
Actual treatment with the energy beam takes less than one minute, however, time is often spent by the treatment therapist positioning the patient appropriately prior to treatment.
Radiation has been used as a treatment for cancer for more than 100 years. Although all cancers are abnormal cells in the body, there are more than 130 types of cancer that behave, grow and react to treatment in many different ways. Radiation therapy is successful in slowing or stopping certain types of malignant cell growth.
As a treatment, radiation can be used in combination with chemotherapy, or by itself to shrink or destroy individual cancer cells. It may be used prior to, during, or after surgery. It can also reduce pain, bleeding, pressure or other symptoms caused by cancer.
A patient will not be radioactive at any time during or after treatment and will not be a hazard to family and friends. Radiation therapy is a complex and cooperative procedure involving a team of medical professionals