- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Living with advanced cancer
- Treatment for advanced cancer
- Radiation therapy
Also known as radiotherapy, radiation therapy uses a controlled dose of radiation, such as x-rays, to kill cancer cells or injure them so they cannot grow, multiply or spread. Radiation therapy can be precisely targeted at cancer sites in your body. Treatment is carefully planned to have the greatest effect on the cancer cells and to limit damage to the surrounding healthy body tissues.
Radiation therapy can shrink tumours or stop them from spreading further. It can also relieve some symptoms, such as pain from secondary cancer in the bones. Different types of external beam radiation therapy or internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy) are used depending on the location of the cancer.
Common side effects from radiation therapy include fatigue, skin problems and loss of appetite. These may be temporary or longer lasting.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Prof Nicholas Glasgow, Head, Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute, ACT; Kathryn Bennett, Nurse Practitioner, Eastern Palliative Care Association Inc., VIC; Dr Maria Ftanou, Head, Clinical Psychology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Research Fellow, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Erin Ireland, Legal Counsel, Cancer Council NSW; Nikki Johnston, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Clare Holland House, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, ACT; Judy Margolis, Consumer; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kate Reed- Cox, Nurse Practitioner, National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Helena Rodi, Project Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kaitlyn Thorne, Coordinator Cancer Support, 13 11 20, Cancer Council Queensland.
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