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A 29-year-old member asked:

Doesn't radiation therapy increase cancer cell growth?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Lee Pederson
General Surgery 29 years experience
Not really: When given appropiately, radiation helps with local control. Keeping the tumor from recurring where it started). But yes exposure to radiation can be a cause for second cancers-( tho rare) most commonly sarcomas in the area of the radiated tissue).
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 46 years experience
This is an excellent answer. It is paradoxical -- most cancer cells are fragile and are killed more readily than healthy cells by radiation, but radiation also mutates normal cells and increases cancer risk. Despite the paradox, radiation is a tremendous help to many people with cancer.
Jul 19, 2012
Dr. Brian Lawenda
Radiation Oncology 26 years experience
Yes, it can...but: This is a phenomenon known as "accelerated repopulation." radiation biologists have taught us that we can compensate for this increased cell growth rate with various techniques: higher total doses, multiple doses per day, greater daily dose intensity and/or the use of concurrent chemotherapy.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Sanford Katz
Radiation Oncology 28 years experience
Not necessarily : It would be extremely unlikely to occur
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

Similar questions

A 46-year-old member asked:

Do radiation therapy increase cancer cell growth of other undetected types of cancer?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Andrew Turrisi
Radiation Oncology 49 years experience
Low doses of: Diagnostic radiation (like mammograms, chest x-rays) may be exceedingly rare causes. We know that XRT for hodgkin's in young woemn led to excessive risk of breast and lung cancer, and we now use it more sparingly and to lower volume and doses if at all. Even low doses for children to prevent brain relapse in leukemia has been linked to excess brain tumors. But second tumors do not occur in all.
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 18 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.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

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Last updated Jun 10, 2014


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