Aspirus Regional Cancer Center

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill or shrink cancer cells and decrease their ability to divide. If the disease is advanced, radiation may be used to reduce the size of the tumor and to provide relief from symptoms.

Radiation therapy technology continues to advance, and the Aspirus Regional Cancer Center offers the latest radiation therapy options, including TomoTherapy, a revolutionary radiation treatment that allows doctors to target cancer with greater precision and safety.

Types of radiation therapy

There are generally two types of radiation therapy:
  • External radiation (external beam therapy) 
    This treatment precisely sends high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells. The machine is controlled by the radiation therapist, and since radiation is used to kill cancer cells, special shields may be used to protect the tissue surrounding the treatment area.

    Radiation treatments are painless and usually last a few minutes. This type of radiation therapy may be given daily for several weeks. TomoTherapy, is a type of external radiation.

    For more information about some of the advanced types of radiation therapy offered at Aspirus Regional Cancer Center, please visit our listing of advanced technology and treatments.
  • Internal radiation - One type of implant therapy uses radioactive seeds (each about the size of a grain of rice) that are implanted directly into a tumor.  The implanted seeds can be left in permanently or temporarily.  The seeds emit small amounts of radiation for a period of weeks or months.

    Low-dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy is a radiation implant that is inserted into or next to a tumor and left in place for extended time frames.

    High-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy is a temporary radiation treatment that is inserted into or next to a tumor and removed after a prescribed amount of time.

    Each of these treatments is designed to meet the individual needs of the patient, so the amount of time for each treatment will differ between patients based on their cancer types and their specific needs.

Treatment Steps

Radiation therapy treatment occurs over a course of “treatment steps.” Click on any of the steps below to read about them in detail.

STEP 1: Treatment consultation
STEP 2: Simulation and CT scans
STEP 3: Treatment planning
STEP 4: Treatment appointments
STEP 5: Radiation therapy treatments
STEP 6: Verification images
STEP 7: Weekly visits during treatment
STEP 8: Completion of radiation and follow-up care