Frequently Asked Questions about Cancer
How does radiation therapy work?
- Published: 27 June 2012
Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA (genes) of tumor cells. DNA damage stops tumor cells from dividing, growing and spreading. Radiotherapy is a useful tool for treating cancer because cancer cells grow and divide more rapidly than most normal cells around them.
Although some normal cells are affected by radiation, most normal cells appear to recover more fully from the effects of radiation than do cancer cells. Your radiation oncologist will carefully limit the intensity of treatments and the area being treated so that the cancer will be affected more than the normal tissues.