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Radiation Oncology

The St. Joseph Cancer Center provides the latest medical technology with two new Varian linear accelerators.

Radiation oncology uses targeted, high-dose x-rays to destroy cancer cells. While some healthy cells are damaged during the treatment, they can repair themselves, whereas the cancer cells cannot.

Radiation oncology can be given alone or it can be used in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Individuals that undergo this treatment will have multiple treatments. 

What to Expect

Our Will I Glow? (pdf) presentation provides an overview of radiation therapy and what you can expect.

Treatment Options

  • Linear accelerator (x-ray machine) for external radiation beam therapy
  • Partial breast irradiation (exposure to radiation) for qualifying breast cancers
  • High dose rate brachytherapy (radiation sources are applied directly to the area requiring treatment)
  • Prostate seed implants (radiation sources are implanted directly into or near the site of the tumor) 

Side Effects

The most common side effects from radiation therapy include:

  • Fatigue (tiredness) 
  • Skin darkening in the area exposed to the radiation beam