Frequently Asked Questions about Cancer
What are the benefits and goals of radiation therapy?
- Published: 27 June 2012
Radiotherapy is an effective means of treating many types of cancers in almost any part of the body. Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients receive radiation during the course of their disease, and the number of cancer patients who have been cured is rising every day.
For many patients, radiation is the only treatment needed. Thousands of patients are free of cancer after having radiation therapy alone or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy or both.
Your doctors may choose to use radiation before surgery to shrink your tumor. Or radiation may be used after surgery to sterilize microscopic tumor cells potentially left behind. Your doctor may use radiation along with chemotherapy.
Even if cure of your cancer is not possible, radiotherapy may still be indicated to bring relief from symptoms caused by the tumor. Many patients find that the quality of their lives is greatly improved when radiation is given to shrink tumors and reduce pressure, bleeding, pain or other distressing symptoms. This is called palliative radiation therapy.