Radiotherapy (XRT)

Last updated: April 27, 2019

What Does Radiotherapy (XRT) Mean?

Radiotherapy refers to the use of high-powered radiant energy, most commonly used for the treatment of cancer. During radiotherapy, a patient is exposed to select types of radiation to destroy cancer cells or reduce the size of cancer tumors.

Radiotherapy is also referred to as radiation therapy.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Radiotherapy (XRT)

Radiotherapy may be administered through external exposure to radiation or through internal exposure. During external radiotherapy, radiation in the form of x-rays, gamma rays or another type of radiation is directed at the part of the body to be treated by an external delivery device. One of the most common types of devices used for this type of radiotherapy is a linear accelerator or linac. While the device can be directed at a single area of the body, this radiation must pass through the patient's outer body layers to reach the intended treatment area.

Internal radiation makes use of radioactive substances that may be introduced into the patient's body, often by injection. These radioactive particles can then pass through the body's circulatory or other systems to reach the targeted treatment site. In some instance, radiotherapy technicians can inject radioactive materials next to or in a targeted tumor, limiting the amount of radiation to which the rest of the body is exposed. This type of internal radiation therapy is called brachytherapy.


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