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How Radiation Therapy Works

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Radiation surrounds us all the time both from natural and manufactured sources such as light, cosmic rays, x-rays, radio waves and microwaves.

The radiation we are normally exposed to cannot penetrate below the skin.

When used for diagnostic purposes (for example, x-rays), low doses of radiation rays do penetrate into the body. 

When used for treatment purposes, a higher dose can damage or destroy cells in the path of the rays. Both normal and cancer cells are affected. Normal cells can heal themselves - just as skin heals after a burn from radiation from the sun. Cancer cells die off because they cannot heal themselves.

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