Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Radiation Therapy

What is Radiation Therapy?

Get an overview on radiation therapy, including types of radiation therapy and safety tips for the patient and family.

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

The goal of radiation therapy (also referred to as radiotherapy) is to eliminate cancerous tumors within the body without destroying the surrounding healthy tissue. However, undesired side effects may accompany even the most precise therapy. Many unwanted symptoms of radiation therapy are controlled or relieved with medications, diet, and stretching/exercise, and many problems disappear when treatments are completed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Radiation Therapy

Some people with cancer may hesitate to have radiation therapy because they are uncertain about the treatment and the possible side effects. It is important to learn about the treatment and communicate with your health-care team if you have any further questions.

Proton Therapy

Proton therapy (also called proton beam therapy) is a type of radiation treatment that uses protons rather than x-rays to treat cancer. A proton is a positively charged particle that is part of an atom, the basic unit of all chemical elements, such as hydrogen or oxygen. At high energy, protons can destroy cancer cells.

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