How effective is radiation therapy in treating cancer?

Afshin Rashtian, MD
Radiation Oncology
Cancer pain is very effectively treated with radiation therapy, says Afshin Rashtian, MD, of Riverside Community Hospital. In this video, he explains how this treatment reduces pain.
Mark A. O'Rourke, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Very effective, but it is not for every cancer or every person with cancer.
The three main types of cancer treatment are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. For some men with early prostate cancer, radiation therapy can be a very effective treatment all by itself. Frequently, two or three types of therapy are used together. For example, in early breast cancer, surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation therapy is very effective at controlling cancer. For lung cancer, the best treatment sometimes includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy and the results are excellent.
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Continue Learning about Radiation Therapy For Cancer

Radiation Therapy For Cancer

Using ionized energy to kill cells, radiation therapy is used by half of all patients to treat cancer.Radiation kills cancer cells by damaging their genetic material beyond repair, causing them to breakdown and die. Both short- an...

d long-term side effects, such as hair and memory loss, can occur when the therapy kills healthy cells. Different types of radiation exist. When a machine outside the body delivers it, it is called external-beam radiation therapy. If radioactive materials are placed inside the body, it is called internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy. You can also receive an injection of radioactive iodine, which travels through the body to kill cancer cells, a treatment called systemic radiation therapy. When cancer cant be cured, radiation therapy can be used to shrink tumors to make life more comfortable for a patient. Doctors may use radiation treatments alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells.

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