A radiation oncologist may use either external beam radiation therapy, or brachytherapy to treat cancer. External beam Radiation therapy can be provided by a linear accelerator. Proton therapy is another type of external beam Radiation therapy that uses cyclotrons or synchrotrons to create charged atoms that kill tumours.
Radiation therapy provided by radioactive sources that are inserted inside the patient is called brachytherapy. The radioactive sources are enclosed in needles, seeds, cables, or catheters, and inserted directly into or near a tumour either temporarily or permanently. Brachytherapy is a common procedure for cancers of the prostate, abdomen, cervix or breast.
Many cancer patients can be treated with radiation as their primary treatment. In certain cases, Radiation therapy is given at the same time as Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy combined with Radiation therapy can enhance outcomes and reduce recurrence.
Radiation therapy may also be given before surgery(neoadjuvant radiation treatment) or after Surgery (adjuvant radiation treatment).