Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. This type of treatment is given by a radiation oncologist (doctor who specializes in treating cancer with different types of radiation).
A very common use of radiation therapy is to treat cancer that has spread to the bone. In general, radiation is very effective at reducing symptoms caused by cancer that has spread to a bone.
Radiation therapy takes time to work. You may experience relief from your symptoms during treatment, but usually the peak effect of radiation is several days to weeks after it has been given.
Radiation therapy is usually given from outside the body and targeted to be delivered to a specific area where cancer is known to be located and causing symptoms. In selected circumstances, your doctor will place a radioactive substance into your bloodstream. This is called a radiopharmaceutical and it works to attack cancer cells in all bones by floating in the blood stream and being delivered to cancer cells inside the bones.