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A 38-year-old member asked:

When is radiation therapy used in treating cancer and when is chemotherapy used?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Radiation Oncology 48 years experience
Disease tells: What modalities to use. You left out surgery, but with c and rt these are used alone, sequentially or at the same time. Leukemia and lymphoma has very little need for surgery, and increasingly littl for xrt. All are used in lung, breast, colorectal, brain, h&n and most GI cancers. Little role for chemo in early prostate cancer where s and XRT are competitive.
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Dr. Liawaty Ho
Hematology and Oncology 24 years experience
Depends: In general, in advanced stage of cancer, where the cancer has spread to distant organ- chemo would be the primary therapy. Palliative radiation can be used to relieve pain, obstruction, stops bleeding etc. In more localized disease, radiation is used as a single tx or combination with chemo either to cure (if surgery can't be done); or before or after surgery. Please d/w your oncology team.
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Similar questions

CA
A 44-year-old member asked:

Is radiation therapy only used for treating cancer?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mitchell Kamrava
Radiation Oncology 17 years experience
Mostly: Radiation is most commonly used to treat cancer but there are a handful of benign conditions (trigeminal neuralgia, acoustic neuroma, ateriovenous malformation, grave's disease, etc) that it is used for as well.
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Dr. Bahman Daneshfar
Radiation Oncology 34 years experience
Other examples are Keloid (scar) prevention. Heterotopic bone prevention around joints.
Nov 16, 2011
A 36-year-old member asked:

Can you tell me exactly when is radiation therapy used to treat cancer and when is chemotherapy used?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 35 years experience
Local v. Systemic Rx: Cancer rx involves treating the organ where the cancer developed (local rx) as well as any cancer cells that may have broken away from the organ of origin and travelled elsewhere in the body (systemic rx). In general, surgery and radiation therapy are local rx whereas chemotherapy is designed to circulate throughout the body and kill cancer cells. Ideally, these 3 modalities work together for cure.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 41-year-old member asked:

Can radiation therapy cause cancer?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ramji Rajendran
Radiation Oncology 17 years experience
Secondary Cancer: Radiation does cause cancer, but is also used to treat cancer in radiation oncology. The best data for this is from children treated with radiation and followed closely for many years. The data can be murky with other causes of cancer. However, in general, the risk of secondary malignancy is much less than 1% can take up to 20 years to develop. The benefit of radiation far outweighs this risk.
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Last updated Jun 10, 2014

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