What is radiation therapy?
Radiation therapy uses targeted energy to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors and provide relief of certain cancer-related symptoms. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our state-of-the-art radiation therapy program brings our patients the leading technology.
Our radiation oncologists use a variety of advanced technologies to deliver maximum radiation doses to tumors, with less damage to healthy tissues and organs. By focusing the radiation directly on the tumor, there is a lower risk of side effects.
Your well-being is at the center of everything we do. In addition to our leading radiation technologies, you’ll be treated by a team of clinicians from areas like nutrition therapy and oncology rehabilitation, all working together to meet your needs throughout treatment. This approach helps us plan for any side effects from the start, and quickly address any symptoms you may experience.
Video: Radiation TherapyLearn about radiation therapy
Radiation therapy for spinal cancer
We use highly targeted delivery systems that allow us to increase the dose and precision of radiation to a spinal tumor, while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
Spinal cancer radiation therapy is commonly used following surgical resection of a tumor, to destroy any microscopic tumor cells left behind. It may also be an option for metastatic spinal tumors (tumors that have spread to the spine from another part of the body).
The specifics of your radiation regime will be based on several factors, including the type and size of the spinal tumor and the extent of disease. External radiation therapy is commonly used for spinal cancer. The area radiated typically includes the tumor and an area surrounding the tumor. For metastatic spinal tumors, radiation is sometimes given to the entire spine.
Addressing spinal cancer radiation therapy side effects
Depending on your radiation dose, site and other factors, you may experience some side effects of radiation therapy, including fatigue, hair loss, skin irritation and nerve damage.
To minimize the side effects of radiation and help you maintain your strength and quality of life, your care team at CTCA will proactively work with you to develop effective solutions based on your needs. For example, we may prescribe steroids to help reduce swelling, or blood thinners to dissolve blood clots and prevent them from traveling into the lungs.
You’ll also receive integrative oncology services like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, oncology rehabilitation and mind-body medicine. These therapies help to keep you strong so you can continue treatment while maintaining your quality of life.