Good vs. bad radiation?

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Question from PatCA: I don't understand how radiation, per se, helps with cancer treatment, yet radiation exposure as a whole is bad. Please explain the difference. Also, what is the gold standard for the RAD exposure?
Answers - Lydia Komarnicky, M.D. The goal of radiation therapy is to stop the growth of cancer cells, and that's how it helps. When radiation is dangerous is if it's given to the whole body and not just to a small part of the body.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Radiation used for treatment is delivered with very fancy machines. The doctor can manipulate all kinds of factors to make sure that the radiation only goes to the area of the body that's at risk and to avoid or minimize dose to any adjacent normal tissues that are not at risk.
Lydia Komarnicky, M.D. As part of the treatment, there are behind-the-scenes people that check the doses and set-ups to ensure its accuracy on a daily basis. These include physicists, dosimetrists, and therapists, all of whom check plans and doses.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Radiation Therapy Updates featured Lydia T. Komarnicky, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about advances in radiation therapy: the newest and best techniques, combining radiation therapy with other treatments, ways to manage, reduce or eliminate side effects, and more.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2004.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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