Radiation Therapy

You may need radiation therapy, which uses radiation beams to fight cancer. Our cancer experts plan radiation therapy using advanced technology, so they can deliver an effective, safe therapy.

As your partner in health, our caring team works with you to make sure you feel informed and supported every step of the way.

How radiation therapy works

Radiation therapy damages the DNA inside cancer cells, which kills the cells or slows their growth.

Radiation therapy targets the tumor, so the rest of your body has minimal radiation exposure. We usually deliver radiation through one or more of these techniques, depending on the location, size and type of cancer:

  • External beam: High-energy X-rays, shaped to match the tumor, target the tumor directly.
  • Brachytherapy: We place radioactive material directly on or near the tumor.
  • Systemic radiation: We deliver radiation through the bloodstream directly to the cancer, using pills or an IV line placed in a vein.

Your doctor will discuss the treatment goals with you before starting radiation therapy. We may use this treatment therapy to:

  • Remove or shrink tumors before surgery
  • Lower the risk of cancer returning after chemotherapy or surgery
  • Reduce pain and improve function by shrinking tumors that are pressing into nearby organs

Starting radiation therapy may feel intimidating. Our oncology nurse navigators explain your treatment. We answer your questions and guide you through every step. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Treatment regimen: You’ll typically have a series of appointments, then take a break to allow the radiation to work in your body.
  • Comfortable facilities: Adventist Health’s radiation therapy locations provide convenient outpatient care in a calm, comfortable environment. Our team members help you feel at home during your appointments.

Help for radiation therapy side effects

Radiation therapy can be effective in fighting cancer, but it takes a physical and emotional toll. You might experience side effects such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Skin changes
  • Other symptoms, depending on what part of your body is receiving treatment

Our experienced specialists help you prevent and manage the side effects of your treatment. We provide physical, emotional and spiritual support throughout your healing process, whether we’re prescribing medication or praying with you during your appointments.

We may recommend radiation therapy along with other cancer treatments. Your care plan may also include chemotherapy, immunotherapy or surgery.

Learn more about our cancer care

Let us be your partner in better health.

Learn about our oncology services, or find a location close to you. You can also read our patient stories and get answers to frequently asked questions.


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