Radiation therapy is the practice of using high energy waves or particles to treat disease. The energies used for radiation treatment are much higher than those used for x-ray exams. Sophisticated equipment is used is used to produce and direct the radiation at the tumor or area of concern. Radiation can kill cells or damage them so they cannot reproduce. This includes tumor cells as well as normal cells. Many tumor cells are rapidly dividing, thus being more sensitive to the effects of radiation as compared to normal cells. Normal cells are usually more efficient at repairing the damage from the radiation. The goal of radiation therapy is to utilize these differences to destroy the tumor while minimizing damage to the normal tissues that will be included in the radiation treatment field.
Several variables will influence each individual patient’s treatment protocol and prognosis. Each patient will have the treatment protocol will be determined by the many factors such as; tumor type, the size, the location, possible side effects, and overall health along with many other factors. Radiation maybe recommended by itself, but it is more commonly combined with surgery and or chemotherapy. Cancer can be unpredictable and each patient is their own individual so each patient will have a treatment protocol specifically designed to tailor that patients needs.