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Radiation treatment uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. External beam radiation uses radiation given from outside the body. The beam is focused on the cancer. This is the type of radiation that has been used most often as a treatment for bone cancer. But bone cancers are not easily killed by radiation and high doses are needed. So radiation does not play a major part in the treatment of most types of bone tumors. It may be useful, though, in some cases where the tumor cannot be completely removed by surgery. It might also be helpful after surgery if cancer cells were present in the edges of the removed tissue. And it might be used for symptoms like pain and swelling if the cancer has come back.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is an advanced form of external beam radiation therapy. With this technique, a computer matches the radiation beams to the shape of the tumor and can adjust the strength of the beams. This makes it possible to reduce radiation damage to normal tissues while giving a higher dose of radiation to the cancer.

Proton-beam radiation

Last Medical Review: 12/05/2012
Last Revised: 01/24/2013