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Radiation is the use of high-energy rays to damage cancer cells. Like surgery, it is a local treatment that only affects cancer cells in the treated area.  

  • Radiation rays damage cancer cells and stop them from growing and multiplying. Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells can’t repair themselves so damaged cancer cells die off.
  • Patients are not radioactive during or after the treatment. 

Radiation treatment is generally given over a period of weeks. 

Like any treatment, it is advisable to understand the benefits and risks before agreeing to radiation. 

There are two varieties of radiation therapy: external and internal. With external radiation, there is usually a planning session before therapy starts. This is a good time to learn what you need to know and to ask practical questions.

While side effects often occur during radiation therapy, there are steps to take to minimize their impact. For example, a cream can help heal the radiated area.

It is advisable to take a family member or friend with you at least to the radiation planning session for both emotional support and to help ask questions. It is also advisable to ask your doctor if it is okay to have sex during treatment. If not, speak with  your partner and explore other ways to have intimacy.

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