Limiting Radiation Exposure to Surrounding Normal Tissue
Radiation therapy is a relatively common form of treatment for cancer and is becoming more successful each year. Radiation therapy machines can more tightly control the radiation beam, directing it at the abnormal tumor and limiting the exposure to surrounding normal tissues. This type of therapy has been refined further through the usage of 3D imaging technology and computerized treatment planning to better identify and target the cancerous tissue.
Types of Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy destroys the cancer cells’ ability to reproduce, enabling the body to naturally rid itself of these cells. Radiation therapy can be performed in two different ways. External beam radiation therapy uses radiation generated through a machine outside of the patient’s body and targeted at the abnormal tissue. Brachytherapy delivers radiation to the patient through radioactive sources that are placed into the body with a catheter or as implanted seeds.
For some cancers, radiation therapy may be the sole approach taken to fight the disease. In other cases, chemotherapy and/or surgery often accompany the radiation therapy.