Radiation Therapy

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What You Need to Know About Radiation Therapy, Teen

WHAT IS RADIATION THERAPY?
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy waves of radiation to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. These waves are like fast-moving X-rays. The rays are strong enough to destroy unhealthy cells.
In radiation therapy, the radiation may be delivered from outside your body or from a source of radiation that is put inside your body. External radiation is usually used, though you may have both kinds. How often and how long you will need radiation therapy depends on the specifics of your condition.

HOW DOES RADIATION THERAPY WORK?
Radiation therapy works by destroying unhealthy cells, such as cancer cells. The energy in radiation makes
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A beam of radiation comes from a machine and enters your body, targeting the specific area of cancer cells.
• Internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy. A wire, seed, or other material that contains radiation is placed inside your body in the area of the cancer cells. Sometimes this radiation source may be left in the body permanently, even after it stops giving off radiation.
• Systemic radiation therapy. You are given a radioactive medicine that travels through your blood to kill the cancer cells. You may take the medicine by mouth or may receive it through an IV tube inserted into one of your veins.

HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR RADIATION THERAPY?
For external beam radiation therapy, you will have a simulation session before treatment begins. This is practice before you start treatment. It helps determine where on your body the radiation should be given. The radiation team will carefully mark your skin, take imaging scans, and move you into different positions to prepare for the upcoming radiation treatment.
You can also take these steps to prepare for treatment:
• Ask if a parent can stay with you during the treatment.
• Ask what radiation therapy will feel like.
• Have your health care provider explain anything that you do not

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