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How is Radiation Therapy Administered?

Though the end goal of all radiation therapies is the same — to damage or kill cancerous cells in the body — there are several ways radiation can be administered. Depending on what type of cancer you have, how advanced it is, and where it’s located within your body, your doctor may suggest one of the following forms of radiation therapy.

Common Forms of Radiation Therapy

External Radiation Therapy

External radiation, also known as external beam therapy, is a method of delivering X-rays, gamma rays, or charged particles at a tumor. To administer external radiation, a patient will lay on a long table (called a cradle) while a large machine circles their body, emitting radiation when over the tumor.

Traditionally, external beam therapy has been most effective in treating breast, colorectal, esophageal, head and neck, lung, prostate, and brain cancer.

External radiation can be used to cure cancer, prevent it from spreading, or prevent cancer from coming back.

Internal Radiation Therapy

Also referred to as brachytherapy, internal radiation therapy involves injecting radiation into or near a patient’s tumor. Unlike external beam therapy, brachytherapy allows for higher doses of radiation to be administered to a smaller area

Depending on the type of cancer you have and where it’s located, you may need one of the following implants used to administer radiation.

  • Pellets
  • Seeds
  • Ribbons
  • Wires
  • Needles
  • Capsules
  • Balloons
  • Tubes

Systemic Radiation Therapy

Systemic radiation involves the use of radioactive drugs that a patient either takes orally (by mouth) or intravenously (through a vein). Once the drug has been injected, it travels throughout your body (via your circulatory system) and attaches to cancer cells.

Systemic radiation is most often used to treat thyroid, bone, and prostate cancer.

Beverly Oncology & Imaging offers state-of-the-art medical technology with greater convenience than hospitals can offer. We are leaders in our field, using cutting-edge technology like Rotating Gamma Technology™, External Beam therapy, and brachytherapy. Contact us today to discuss treatment options or to make an appointment.

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