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.
Radiation therapy is the most common treatment for uterine cancer, but is also often used along with other treatments like surgery or chemotherapy. Your doctor may advise radiation to:
- Serve as the main treatment, sometimes along with chemotherapy.
- Shrink a tumor to make it easier to operate on before surgery.
- Kill any remaining small areas of cancer following a surgery.
- Treat a single area of cancer spread, such as a tumor in the brain or an adrenal gland. This may be done along with surgery to treat the tumor.
- Relieve symptoms such as pain, bleeding, trouble swallowing, cough, or problems caused by a spread of cancer.
- Brachytherapy. Patients who have had their uterus (and cervix) removed may have the upper part of the vagina treated with brachytherapy. Radiation is placed into a cylinder and inserted into the vagina. The length of the cylinder may vary based on the case, but the upper part of the vagina is always treated.
- External beam radiation therapy. This treatment is the most common type of radiation therapy used to treat uterine cancer. This treatment focuses radiation from outside the body on the cancer in order to eliminate cancer cells.