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Radiation oncology, also called radiotherapy or radiation therapy, involves treating cancer with beams of high-energy radiation. You may be familiar with the use of radiation in the form of diagnostic chest X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans or dental X-rays. Radiation therapy relies on much higher X-ray energy delivered at many more times the amount of a regular X-ray in order to treat cancer.

Sarah Cannon Research Medical Center hospitals perform radiation therapy during your cancer treatment for different reasons, including:

  • Neoadjuvant therapy (before surgery, to shrink a cancerous tumor)
  • During surgery, to direct large doses of radiation directly at a tumor
  • Adjuvant therapy (after surgery, to stop the growth of any remaining cancer cells)
  • In combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy
  • Palliative care (decrease pressure or pain that the tumor puts on you)