Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation), or may be placed inside the body (internal radiation). The type of radiation to be given depends on the type of cancer, its location, how far into the body the radiation will need to go, the patient’s general health and medical history, whether the patient will have other types of cancer treatment, and other factors.
Most people who receive radiation therapy for cancer have external radiation. Some patients have both external and internal.
External radiation therapy usually is given on an outpatient basis. External radiation therapy is used to treat most types of cancer, including cancer of the bladder, brain, breast, cervix, larynx, lung, prostate, and vagina. In addition, external radiation may be used to relieve pain or ease other problems when cancer spreads to other parts of the body from the primary site.
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