Radiation Therapy for Small Intestine Adenocarcinoma

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy may be an option for those whose cancer cannot be removed with surgery and is causing symptoms − for example if a particular spot is painful because of the cancer.

External-beam radiation therapy is the type of radiation used most often for most types of gastrointestinal cancer. It is like having a regular x-ray except it takes longer and uses much higher amounts of radiation. Patients typically have treatments 5 days a week for several weeks. Radiation therapy is used primarily to treat pain from cancer that has spread to the bones or other parts of the body.

The main side effects of radiation therapy to the stomach and intestines include

  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin changes in the area where the radiation beams passed through, which range from mild redness to blistering and peeling

More information about radiation therapy can be found in Understanding Radiation Therapy: A Guide for Patients and Families.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: April 30, 2014 Last Revised: February 9, 2016

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