Radiation Oncology

what is radiation therapy?

It delivers high-energy x-rays that can destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells.

When radiation therapy is used?

  • As the main treatment (sometimes along with chemotherapy), especially if the lung tumor can’t be removed because of its size or location, if a person is not healthy enough for surgery.
  • After surgery (alone or along with chemotherapy) to try to kill any small areas of cancer that surgery might have missed.
  • Before surgery (usually along with chemotherapy) to try to shrink a lung tumor to make it easier to operate on.
  • To treat a single area of cancer spread, such as a tumor in the brain or an adrenal gland. (This might be done along with surgery to treat the main lung tumor.)
  • To relieve (palliate) symptoms of advanced disease such as pain, bleeding, trouble swallowing, cough, or problems caused by spread to other organs such as the brain.

Types of radiation therapy?

There are 2 main types of radiation therapy:

  • External beam radiation therapy
  • Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy)

What is External beam radiation therapy and it’s types?

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) focuses radiation from outside the body on the cancer. Most often, radiation treatments to the lungs and oesophagus are given 5 days a week for 5 to 7 weeks, but this can vary based on the type of EBRT


  • Dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT)
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)

What is brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy)?

For this small source of radioactive material is placed directly into the cancer or into the airway next to the cancer.

Side effects of radiation therapy?

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Skin changes in the area being treated, which can range from mild redness to blistering and peeling
  • Hair loss where the radiation enters the body


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