What is Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the treatment of disease using high-energy X-rays. Radiation therapy is often used in the treatment of cancer. Other cancer treatments include chemotherapy and surgery. These treatments can be used singly or together. The decision about which treatments to use is individually based on each patient's situation.


Prior to receiving radiation therapy, you will have a planning appointment called a simulation. During this appointment, your radiation oncologist and radiation therapist will perform the necessary tests that will allow them to shape the radiation beam to your body and to the size and shape of your tumor. This customized shaping helps protect healthy tissue surrounding the cancer. You may receive small permanent ink spots to position you for future treatments.


Your radiation oncologist will determine the number and duration of your treatments. After reviewing your medical history, the radiation oncologist will meet with you to discuss proposed treatments, including potential risks and benefits. Generally, treatments last from 10-20 minutes and are given daily, Monday through Friday. They are given over a period of time that may last from a few days to many weeks.

Side Effects

Some patients experience side effects from radiation therapy. Side effects depend on the area of the body being treated. We have effective treatments for most side effects. Many patients are able to continue their normal day-to-day activities.