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Radiation therapy is treatment with high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. For the most part, radiation is not often used to treat osteosarcoma. Sometimes, though, it may be useful when the tumor can’t be removed completely by surgery. It can also help control symptoms like pain and swelling if the cancer has come back and surgery can’t be done.

Most often, radiation treatments are given 5 days a week for several weeks. Each treatment is a lot like getting an x-ray, although the radiation dose is much higher. The treatment is not painful. For each session, you (or your child) will lie on a special table while the radiation is given from different angles.

Each treatment lasts only a few minutes, although the setup time – getting you (or your child) into place for treatment – usually takes longer. Young children may be given medicine to make them sleep so they will not move during the treatment.

For more on radiation therapy, see the “Radiation Therapy” section of our website.

Last Medical Review: 06/13/2014
Last Revised: 01/27/2016