Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
About half of all people with cancer receive radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment. Doctors use radiation therapy to treat just about every type of cancer. Radiation therapy is also useful in treating some noncancerous (benign) tumors.
How radiation therapy is used in people with cancer
Your doctor may suggest radiation therapy as an option at different times during your cancer treatment and for different reasons, including:
- As the only (primary) treatment for cancer
- Before surgery, to shrink a cancerous tumor (neoadjuvant therapy)
- After surgery, to stop the growth of any remaining cancer cells (adjuvant therapy)
- In combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy, to destroy cancer cells
- In advanced cancer to alleviate symptoms caused by the cancer
- Radiation therapy and you: Support for people with cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/radiation-therapy-and-you/allpages. Accessed May 10, 2011.
- External beam therapy (EBT). RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=ebt. Accessed May 10, 2011.