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Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)

The therapeutic use of ionizing radiation to treat disease in patients. Although most radiotherapy procedures are intended to kill cancerous tissue or reduce the size of a tumor, therapeutic doses may also be used to reduce pain or treat benign conditions. For example, intervascular brachytherapy uses radiation to treat clogged blood vessels. Other common radiotherapy procedures include gamma stereotactic radiosurgery (gamma knife), teletherapy, and iodine treatment to correct an overactive thyroid gland. These procedures use radiation sources, regulated by the NRC and its Agreement States, that may be applied either inside or outside the body. In either case, the goal of radiotherapy is to deliver the required therapeutic or pain-relieving dose of radiation with high precision and for the required length of time, while preserving the surrounding healthy tissue.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, April 02, 2014