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Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy Treatment

Radiation therapy, sometimes called radiotherapy, is the careful use of radiation to safely and effectively treat many different kinds of tumors.

  • Doctors called radiation oncologists use radiation therapy to try to kill tumors, to control tumor growth or to relieve symptoms.
  • Radiation therapy works within tumor cells by damaging their ability to multiply. When these cells die, the body naturally eliminates them.

Healthy cells near the tumor may be affected by radiation, but they are able to repair themselves in a way tumor cells cannot.

There are generally two types of radiation therapy:

  • External Beam Radiation Therapy — This therapy uses high energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. The treatment is similar to having an X-ray, lasting only minutes and is painless. The radiation is directed to the tumor site and spares the surrounding normal tissues.
  • Internal Radiation Therapy — Also known as brachytherapy, internal radiation therapy works by placing radioactive sources in or just next to a tumor.
    • During brachytherapy, a tube or balloon known as a catheter will be inserted into the brain. The radiation will then be carried to the tumor using this catheter.
    • The radioactive source will then be left in place from several hours to several days to kill the tumor cells.
    • In some cases, the radiation is permanently placed directly into the tumor or the area where the tumor was before surgery.

Types of cancers treated with radiation therapy:

  • Brain tumors
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancers
  • Gynecologic cancers
  • Head & Neck cancers
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Lung cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Prostate cancer
  • Skin cancer

At North Shore-LIJ Health System Radiation Medicine, advances in the diagnosis and treatment of a multitude of cancers are made daily. The department plays an integral role in the treatment of patients diagnosed with primary and secondary cancers by using innovative radiation procedures that precisely target the malignancy and reduce the amount of radiation to non-cancerous tissue.

The Radiation Medicine Department provides comprehensive care using the latest radiation therapy technology. Our team approach lets the patient and their families remain focused on their well being, knowing that the full resources of the North Shore-LIJ Health System are behind them to assure that the most effective treatments are offered and utilized.