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Radiation Therapy: How It Works and What to Expect

Radiation therapy is a common cancer treatment that uses high-energy radiation to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells. It can be used alone or in combination with other treatments like surgery and chemotherapy. If your doctor has recommended radiation therapy as part of your cancer treatment plan, you may have questions about how it works and what to expect. Here’s what you need to know.

How Does Radiation Therapy Work?

Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA inside cancer cells, which makes it difficult for them to grow and divide. The radiation can be delivered externally, using a machine that aims high-energy rays at the tumor from outside the body, or internally, by placing radioactive material inside the body near the tumor. Your doctor will recommend the type of radiation therapy that is best for your specific situation.

What to Expect During Radiation Therapy

Before you begin radiation therapy, you will have a simulation session to determine the exact position you need to be in for treatment. This may involve the use of imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRI, to create a map of the area to be treated. The radiation oncologist will use this information to design a treatment plan tailored to your specific cancer and anatomy.

During radiation therapy, you will lie on a table while the machine delivers radiation to the tumor. The treatment is painless and typically lasts only a few minutes. You will need to come in for treatment every day for several weeks, depending on the type and stage of your cancer.

Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy can cause side effects, but they are usually temporary and go away once treatment is complete. Common side effects include skin irritation or redness, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Your doctor can prescribe medication to help manage any discomfort you may experience during treatment.

At MGM Cancer Institute, we offer a comprehensive range of radiation therapy options, including external beam radiation therapy, internal radiation therapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery. Our radiation oncologists work closely with your other cancer care providers to develop a personalized treatment plan that maximizes your chances of a successful outcome.

Radiation therapy is an important tool in the fight against cancer. By understanding how it works and what to expect during treatment, you can feel more prepared and confident in your cancer treatment plan. At MGM Cancer Institute, our experienced team of radiation oncologists and cancer care providers are here to support you every step of the way.

If you have any questions about radiation therapy or would like to learn more about our radiation therapy options at MGM Cancer Institute, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Speak with one of our Nuclear Medicine specialists. Call us at +91 44 4251 5151 to schedule an appointment.


Written by,

Dr M A Raja
Senior Consultant – Medical Oncology.
Director of Oncology Services Chairman, Medical Advisory Board

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