In this video from Macmillan Cancer Support, oncologist Dr. Vincent Khoo from the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, U.K., talks about using radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) to treat cancer.
Dr. Khoo explains that radiation therapy uses high energy X-ray beams to target cancer cells and stop them from growing. Radiation therapy can be used as a potential cure or as a palliative therapy to provide pain relief in advanced cases of cancer.
The X-ray beams impact the cancer cells’ ability to divide, but will also affect nearby healthy tissue. To prevent excessive damage to healthy tissues, doctors have to shape the radiation field to match the shape of the tumor and to very precisely target where the beams will enter the body. Radiation therapy is often given in short doses five times a week over a period of between five and eight weeks.
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