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Find A Radiation Oncologist

Understanding Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, is the careful use of radiation to treat many different kinds of cancer including skin cancers. Radiation oncologists use radiation therapy to try to cure cancer, to control cancer growth or to relieve symptoms such as pain.

Radiation therapy works within cancer cells by damaging their ability to multiply. When these cells die, the body naturally eliminates them. Healthy cells that grow and divide quickly are also harmed by radiation, but they are able to repair themselves in a way that cancer cells cannot.

Most radiation is given with an external beam, but treatment can be given with a radioactive source close to the skin with a treatment called brachytherapy.