Radiation therapy

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Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment which involves using strong radiation (such as x-rays, gamma rays or electrons) to kill cancer cells.

Radiation therapy can be given to the whole body, or (more commonly) just the localised area with most of the tumours. Although the actual treatment is painless, using radiation to tackle tumours inevitably leads to side effects. These can range from sore-redness over the affected area, nausea and vomiting, to the possibility of permanent organ damage.

Radiation therapy is given in sessions over a number of weeks or months, often in combination with chemotherapy. This is to allow healthy cells time to grow back, repairing damage inflicted by the radiation. Over this time the patient is given numerous tests to monitor tumour growth and radiation damage.

Further information:

See also: Cancer -- Chemotherapy