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Introduction to Radiation Therapy

The type of radiation used for radiation therapy depends on the type of cancer and how far into the body radiation has to travel. The patient may receive radiation in the early stage of cancer to cure or control the disease. Radiation therapy may also be used to control pain due to the cancer process. External Beam Radiation treatments are painless and do not make the patient radioactive. High Dose Rate Brachytherapy(HDR) allows a high dose of radiation to be delivered by the use of radioactive sources or seeds placed interstitial (into the tumor), intracavitary (inside a body cavity), intraluminal (into a passageway), surface (in or against the tumor), or unsealed internal (injecting radioactive substance into the bloodstream or body cavity).

The ultimate goal of radiation therapy is to get a high dose of radiation to the cancer cells while protecting the normal cells surrounding the tumor site. Accurate delivery of the radiation is important. Once the radiation therapists have positioned the patient, it is very important to remain still through out the treatment.

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