Radiation therapy is used to shrink or destroy tumours using high-energy X-rays. Conventional (also called fractionated) radiation therapy delivers a part (fraction) of the complete radiation dose over several sessions. By delivering a fraction of the total radiation dose at one time, any damage to normal cells caused by radiation can be repaired between treatments. In this way, the healthy cells are protected from permanent injury or death. During your initial consultation, a treatment plan will be drawn up. You will then return daily for several weeks to receive the complete radiation dose.
You may be given radiation therapy as your only treatment, or you may also undergo surgery, chemotherapy, or both. Radiation therapy is usually intended to cure your cancer. However, sometimes the tumour may be too far advanced for the treatment to provide a cure. In this case, you will be given radiation therapy to relieve your pain.