- There are different types of radiation. All of them kill cancer cells or stop them from growing.
- Sometimes radiation is used to relieve symptoms.
Radiation therapy uses powerful, high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Radiation may come from outside the body (external) or from radioactive materials placed directly inside the tumor (internal/implant). External radiation is used most often. The radiation is aimed at the tumor and kills the cancer cells only in that area of the lungs.
Radiation can be used before surgery to shrink the tumor. It may also be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells left in the lungs. Sometimes external radiation is used as the main type of lung cancer treatment. This is often the case for people who may not be healthy enough to have surgery or whose cancer has spread too far to have surgery. Radiation can also be used to relieve symptoms caused by the cancer, such as pain, bleeding or blockage of airways by the tumor.
Doctors use several different radiation techniques to administer therapy.
- External beam radiation (external beam)
- Brachytherapy (internal or implant radiation therapy)
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
- Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS or STRS)
Possible Side Effects
- Mild Skin Reactions
- Mouth Sores
- Sore Throat
- Learn how to cope with side effects »
*Side effects vary based on where the radiation field is located
Discuss concerns, possible side effects and any effects that you experience with your doctor.