Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapyRadiation therapy uses powerful, high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. Radiation may come from outside the body (external) or from radioactive materials placed directly inside the tumor (internal/implant). External radiation is used most often. The radiation is aimed at the tumor and kills the cancer cells only in that area of the lungs.

Radiation can be used before surgery to shrink the tumor. It may also be used after surgery to kill any cancer cells left in the lungs. Sometimes external radiation is used as the main type of lung cancer treatment. This is often the case for people who may not be healthy enough to have surgery or whose cancer has spread too far to have surgery. Radiation can also be used to relieve symptoms caused by the cancer, such as pain, bleeding or blockage of airways by the tumor.

Illustration of Internal and External Radiation Therapy

Doctors use several different radiation techniques to administer therapy.

Radiation Techniques

Possible Side Effects
•  Mild Skin Reactions •  Sore Throat
•  Nausea •  Pain
•  Tiredness •  Cough
•  Mouth Sores
» Learn how to cope with side effects

*Side effects vary based on where the radiation field is located

Discuss concerns, possible side effects and any effects that you experience with your doctor.

To get started, use this list of suggested questions.

Early detection of lung cancer can increase survival rates. Call the Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA or talk to your doctor about lung cancer screening.