Radiation treatment uses focused X-rays, which is a form of energy, to destroy cancerous cells while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue. Radiation damages the DNA in cancer cells, which interrupts their ability to reproduce, causing them to die and the tumor to shrink. Most normal cells, however, have the ability to repair themselves and can more easily recover from the radiation.
There are two basic types of radiation treatment: radiotherapy and radiosurgery. With both techniques, treatment delivery is noninvasive, so there are no incisions. These techniques focus a beam of radiation directly to the tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
Radiation oncology teams use sophisticated software and highly specialized equipment to deliver a variety of treatments, depending on what is best for each patient’s unique case. Your radiation oncologist will review the radiation treatment options with you and determine which one is right for your particular cancer.