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Mercy’s radiation oncologists are highly trained and experienced in the latest tools and techniques to help you achieve the best possible outcome. As part of your cancer treatment team, they provide individualized treatment plans based on your specific needs.
Radiation is a form of energy that exists as waves or charged particles. These include x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams and protons. Radiation therapy is a treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. It’s effective at targeting and destroying cancer cells in specific areas of the body.
More than half of all cancer patients undergo radiation treatments to:
At Mercy, we offer a full spectrum of advanced radiation therapy services to treat all types of cancer. Precise imaging and innovative technologies allow us to provide more targeted treatments that help preserve your quality of life.
The type of radiotherapy also called radiation therapy, used for cancer treatment depends on several factors, including tumor size and location, what organs are near the tumor and whether other cancer treatments are needed.
The two main types of radiation therapy are external beam and internal.
External beam radiation uses a machine outside the body to deliver radiation to the tumor. It’s the most common radiation therapy and is used to treat a wide range of cancers, including brain, spine, lung, breast, prostate, bladder, liver and bone cancer.
Mercy offers several different types of external beam radiation therapy including:
Internal radiation therapy, also known as brachytherapy, uses a radioactive implant. It’s placed inside your body, in or near the tumor. Brachytherapy is often used to treat head and neck cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer and eye cancer.
Systemic radiation therapy uses radioactive drugs to treat certain types of cancer, including thyroid, bone and prostate cancer. A radioactive substance is swallowed or injected into the body and travels through the blood, locating and killing tumor cells.
Targeted forms of radiation are used to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors and relieve cancer-related symptoms. By focusing directly on the tumor, radiation oncologists can minimize damage to healthy tissues and reduce side effects.
Radiation therapy is often used with other cancer treatments, such as cancer surgery, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Receiving radiation therapy and chemotherapy at the same time is sometimes called "chemoradiation." Radiation therapy may be given before, during or after these other treatments to improve the chances of success. The timing of the radiation therapy depends on the type of cancer being treated and whether the goal is treating cancer or easing symptoms.
Oncologists recommend radiation therapy when they believe the benefits outweigh the risks. Your radiation oncology team will carefully plan your treatments to ensure they’re safe and effective. If you have questions or concerns about radiation therapy, talk with your Mercy cancer care team. Like any medical treatment, radiation therapy carries potential risks, including:
At Mercy, your radiation oncologist will plan, prescribe and supervise your care. They’re supported by a team that includes physician assistants, registered radiation therapists, nurses, medical physicists, dosimetrists and other support staff. Our team approach helps us provide you with complete care and services on your cancer journey.
At Mercy, we offer comprehensive services to diagnose and treat all types of cancer, including:
At Mercy, we offer comprehensive testing services to diagnose all cancer types, including:
At Mercy, we offer compassionate care for a variety of oncology treatment services, including: