For many types of malignant tumors and other related conditions, radiation therapy is one of the most effective treatments for curing the condition, reducing symptoms and controlling growth. Depending on the location and size of the cancerous tumor, radiation may be administered externally or internally by injection, pill or implant.
Radiation therapy is best when treating specific cancerous tumors that have not spread throughout the body. It was designed to target specific cells while sparing normal surrounding cells. For this reason, radiation therapy may not be recommended when cancer has spread throughout the body in later stages.
There are five main categories of cancer:
- Carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the skin or tissues lining or covering internal organs.
- Sarcoma: Cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, and other connective or supportive tissue.
- Leukemia: Cancer that begins in blood-forming tissue such as bone marrow.
- Lymphoma and myeloma: Cancers that form in the cells of the immune system.
- Central nervous system cancers: Cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.