Radiation therapy is one of the three major methods available to treat cancer. It can be used alone, or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays, electrons, and other sources of radiation in the treatment of cancer and occasionally benign diseases.
There are many types of cancers and they behave in different ways. Because of these variations, there are often multiple treatment methods available. Radiation therapy may be used to cure disease, control disease, or control the symptoms of the disease (such as pain). It can be used to shrink tumors before surgical removal, or after surgery to destroy tumor cells that may exist microscopically in the surgical area.