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What is endocavitary radiation therapy?

This type of treatment is used for some rectal cancers. A small device is placed through the anus and into the rectum to deliver high-intensity radiation over a few minutes. This is repeated about 3 more times at about 2-week intervals for the full dose. The advantage of this approach is that the radiation reaches the rectum without passing through the skin and other tissues of the abdomen, which means it is less likely to cause side effects. This can allow some patients, particularly elderly persons, to avoid major surgery and a colostomy. It is used only for small tumors. Sometimes external-beam radiation therapy is also given.

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