External Radiation Therapy


What is external radiation therapy? External radiation therapy is a treatment that uses radiation (x-ray energy) to treat cancer. Radiation is a strong beam of x-ray energy that passes through organs and healthy tissue to reach tumors. External radiation therapy is used to shrink the tumor or kill the cancer cells. It may also be used to decrease symptoms caused by the tumor. External radiation therapy may be combined with other treatments such as medicine, chemotherapy, or surgery.

How is external beam radiation therapy done? External radiation treatment is usually done in a hospital or clinic. You may need external radiation therapy every day over a period of several weeks.

What are the risks of external beam radiation therapy?

How can I care for my skin during external radiation therapy? External beam radiation therapy may make your skin red, dry, bleed, or peel. Care for your skin by doing the following:

When should I contact my caregiver? Contact your caregiver if:

When should I seek immediate care? Seek care immediately or call 911 if:


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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