Radiation for the Treatment of Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to shrink tumors and kill
cancer cells. (To give perspective, radiation is used in low doses in
x-rays to see inside your body, such as x-rays of broken bones.)
Types of radiation
The two main types of radiation therapy are external beam and internal,
and whether one or both is in your treatment plan depends on many factors,
including cancer type, tumor size, where the tumor is in your body, the
tumor’s proximity to normal tissues that are sensitive to radiation,
your overall health and medical history, any other types of cancer treatment
you may have, your age and other medical conditions.
External Beam Radiation Therapy comes from a machine that is typically large, which aims radiation directly
at your cancer. The machine doesn’t touch you but can move around
you and send radiation from many directions to the part of your body with
cancer cells. External Beam Radiation Therapy is delivered through BRG’s
Internal Radiation Therapy uses solid or liquid radiation that is put in or near the tumor in your body.
How does radiation work against cancer?
High doses of radiation damages cancer cells’ DNA, killing them or
slowing their growth so they will stop dividing or die. Damaged cells
that die then break down and are removed by the body. Radiation can take
days or weeks to damage DNA enough for cancer cells to die. After therapy
ends, cancer cells keep dying for weeks or months.
How is radiation administered?
Radiation may be administered through a high-tech laser-like machine, or
through an IV.
Where do you go to have radiation?
Radiation is administered at the Radiation Oncology area in the Pennington
Cancer Center on BRG’s Bluebonnet and Mid City campuses and the
Radiation Oncology Center at Lane Regional Medical Center in Zachary.
Please discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare team.