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Radiation therapy and chemotherapy: why treat cancer with both?

Cancer patients today have more options than ever before, so it’s important to know about various treatments and their side effects.

Just as you have a variety of specialists treating you, there are a variety of treatments that can be used. Two of the most common are radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Depending on the type, stage, and location of your cancer, radiation may be the only treatment you receive. For others, chemo may be the only treatment, but most people have some combination of the two.

Successful treatment plans often include both chemo and radiation.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are commonly used to treat many different types of cancer. Both types of therapy are used to kill cancer cells, to stop or slow their growth, or to reduce the chance of recurrence. Both treatments can also be used as palliatives, to shrink tumors that are causing pain and other problems. And either or both may be used after surgery, to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. The most common side effect for both types of therapy is fatigue.

How are radiation therapy and chemotherapy different?

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells and stop them from reproducing. It’s a localized treatment that only targets the cells in the part of the body being treated. Radiation therapy can be administered externally or internally based on your own treatment plan, your cancer type, location, and stage.

The state-of-the-art technology we use at MRO to deliver radiation beams can be pinpointed down to the millimeter, to minimize destruction of surrounding tissue and reduce side effects.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and stop them from reproducing. It’s a systemic treatment that kills any type of fast-growing cell in your body. These can include hair follicles, and the cells that line your mouth and intestines, along with cancer cells.

Make an informed choice.

The treatment that you need depends on the type of cancer you have, if it has spread and where, and if you have other health problems. So it’s important to know about various treatments, their efficacy, and their side effects to make the best choice for you. Of course, you don’t have to make these decisions alone; your care team will discuss options that will be most effective for you.

At MRO, you can count on a whole team of radiation therapy specialists to guide you on your journey. But the more you know about your cancer and your treatment options, the better equipped you will be to make the best choice.

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