Radiation Therapy

Finding the right treatment to treat your cancer isn’t always easy. Depending on the type of cancer, you might have a very limited number of treatment options or you might have a variety. Your cancer care team here at Stormont Vail Health will create a treatment option that fits you. This care plan will depend on the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, your overall health, your personal preferences and more.

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The Stormont Vail Difference

At Stormont Vail Health, your healthcare team provides you and your family or support system with medical expertise and individual care. You have access to our cancer specialists, support groups, social workers and other services –– such as palliative medicine –– all integrated into your cancer care.

Radiation therapy uses beams of intense energy to kill cancer cells. Most often, radiation uses X-rays however; protons or other types of energy can also be used.

Radiation therapy damages cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. While both healthy and cancerous cells are damaged by radiation therapy, the goal is to destroy as few normal, healthy cells as possible. Normal cells can often repair much of the damage caused by radiation.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy side effects depend on which part of your body is being exposed to radiation and how much radiation is used. Most side effects are temporary, can be controlled and generally disappear over time once treatment has ended.

Some side effects include:

  • Any part of the body: Hair loss at treatment site, skin irritation at treatment site and fatigue
  • Head and neck: Dry mouth, thickened saliva, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, nausea, mouth sores, tooth decay and changes in food taste
  • Chest: Difficulty swallowing, cough and shortness of breath
  • Abdomen: Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Pelvis: Diarrhea, bladder irritation, frequent urination and sexual dysfunction