Radiation therapy: Using radioactivity to kill cancer cells

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Radiation therapy for cancer: What to expect during treatment

Radiation therapy is a common cancer treatment. Find out what happens during radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy — also called radiotherapy or X-ray therapy — involves treating cancer with beams of high-energy particles, or waves (radiation), such as gamma rays or X-rays. Radiation therapy damages cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. And while both healthy and cancerous cells are damaged by radiation therapy, the goal of treatment is to destroy as few normal, healthy cells as possible.

Last Updated: 07/20/2007
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version