Radiation therapy is a treatment for cancer that uses high-energy X-rays. A machine directs the rays of energy to the area of cancer, with a goal to kill or shrink cancer cells.
Most often, bone patients will not receive radiation therapy as a major part of their treatment. Most bone cancers are not easily affected by radiation, and high doses are needed to see results. Typically, radiation is used when a tumor cannot be completely removed by surgery.
- Intense-modulated radiation therapy. This therapy is an advanced form of external beam radiation therapy. Computers are used to match the radiation beams to the shape of the tumor and adjust the strength of the radiation beams. This makes it possible to reduce radiation damage to normal tissue and pinpoint the radiation dose on the cancer.
- Proton-beam radiation. This special form of radiation uses protons instead of regular x-rays to kill cancer cells. Protons are positively charged particles found in all atoms that cause little damage to normal tissue but are effective at killing cancer cells, allowing higher doses to be given during therapy.