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Q: How often is radiation therapy prescribed?

A: More than half of all cancer patients undergo radiation therapy at some point in their treatment, possibly in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. At Skyline Radiation Oncology, our physicians work together in a multi-disciplinary approach to determine what treatment or combination of treatments is best for each patient.

Q: How is radiation therapy different from chemotherapy?

A: Chemotherapy involves drugs that circulate throughout the body to treat cancer cells. Radiation therapy utilizes beams of radiation to target the cancer for a direct attack. Side effects from radiotherapy are generally limited to the specific part of the body being treated. For example, patients receiving radiation to the head may experience hair loss while those who receive radiation to the pelvis may experience urinary and bowel changes.

Q: How will the radiation oncologist determine the best kind of radiation treatment for me?

A: The form of cancer you have, the stage of that cancer’s development and the size and location of the cancerous tissue are among the factors that will guide your radiation oncologist’s recommendations for the most appropriate treatment.

Q: What is External Beam Radiation Therapy?

A: EBRT is the most common form of radiation therapy. It is delivered from outside the body, with beams of radiation targeting the cancer. Other forms of radiation therapy involve delivery of the radiation directly to the tumor from inside the body.

Q: Is radiation therapy safe?

A: Radiation therapy has been used for over a century, and research over the years has taught radiation oncologists how to deliver this therapy safely and effectively. At Skyline Radiation Oncology, patient safety is our highest priority. Your radiation oncologist will carefully plan and customize a specific treatment strategy for you, targeting the cancerous tumor and avoiding healthy tissue and other organs nearby. The radiation oncology team includes medical physicists who work closely with the radiation oncologist to maintain the highest levels of safety. In fact, much work goes into planning your precise treatment before the treatment is delivered to you. In addition, the machines used in radiation treatment have multiple fail-safe measures to further protect our patients.

Q: Is radiation therapy effective?

A: Radiation therapy has a proven track record as a highly effective treatment for many types of cancer. In the case of prostate cancer, current expert guidelines, including those from the National Comprehensive Cancer Center Network (NCCCN), state that both radiation therapy and surgery are equally effective treatment options for localized prostate cancer. How patients decide which treatment is best for them will involve discussions with their physicians to assess the benefits and any downsides of various treatment options.