Radiation therapy, sometimes called radiotherapy, is the use of various forms of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. Doctors use radiation therapy to try to cure cancer, to control the growth of the cancer or to relieve symptoms, such as pain.
Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA within cancer cells and destroying the ability of the cancer cells to reproduce. When these damaged cells die, the body naturally eliminates them. Normal cells are also affected by radiation, but they are able to repair themselves in a way that cancer cells cannot.
While you undergo radiation therapy, a team of highly trained medical professionals will be working together to make sure you receive the best care possible. A radiation oncologist, a doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer, leads this team.