Radiation oncology, also called radiotherapy or radiation therapy, involves treating cancer with beams of high-energy radiation. Radiation therapy relies on much higher X-ray energy delivered at many more times the amount of a regular X-ray in order to treat cancer.

Rapides Cancer Center uses radiation therapy during treatment for different reasons, including:

  • Neoadjuvant therapy (before surgery, to shrink a cancerous tumor)
  • During surgery, to direct large doses of radiation directly at a tumor
  • Adjuvant therapy (after surgery, to stop the growth of any remaining cancer cells)
  • In combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy
  • Palliative care (decrease pressure or pain that the tumor puts on you)

In external radiation, treatment comes from a machine outside your body. This radiation comes from a machine such as a linear accelerator. Linear accelerators deliver external beam radiation which is most often targeted to a specific area of your body. Typical radiation therapy is on an outpatient basis about 5 days a week over a period of 1-8 weeks. Treatment sessions last approximately 30 minutes. Other kinds of external radiation therapy Rapides Cancer Center offers include:

  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)