Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, uses high-energy radiation — such as x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, or protons — to destroy cancer cells or to stop a tumor from growing. The way you receive radiotherapy treatment will depend on the stage and characteristics of the cancer. There are two main types: external-beam radiation and internal radiation therapy.

Radiation therapy is used to relieve pain and extend life, but it is not a cure for liver cancer. It may be used in conjunction with another treatment, such as surgery, and can be given to people with either tumors inside the liver or metastatic liver tumors.

Doctors who specialize in delivering radiation therapy are called radiation oncologists.

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External-beam radiation

External beam radiation is administered outside of the body. A machine directs the radiation to the area where the tumors are located.

Internal radiation

Internal radiation delivers the radiation to the cancer cells more directly. Radioactive material is packaged inside a catheter, needle, or pod and placed inside or close to the tumors.

On type of internal radiation you may receive is called brachytherapy. In this treatment, your radiation oncologist will use a catheter to deliver radioactive pellets to the tumor area. The pellets give off radiation for several days or weeks to kill cancerous cells. One of the benefits of brachytherapy is that it has fewer side effects than external radiation.

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