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Difference Between Radiation And Chemo

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy

Radiation Treatment vs. Chemotherapy

Intensity modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT, is a specialized form of 3D-CRT that allows radiation to be more exactly shaped to fit the tumor. With IMRT, the radiation beam can be broken up into many “beamlets,” and the intensity of each beamlet can be adjusted individually. Using IMRT, it may be possible to further limit the amount of radiation that is received by healthy tissue near the tumor. In some situations, this may also allow a higher dose of radiation to be delivered to the tumor, potentially increasing the chance of a cure.

What Are Additional Treatment Options

Systemic Radiation Therapy

Certain cancers may be treated by swallowing radioactive pills or receiving radioactive fluids in the vein . This type of treatment is called systemic radiation therapy because the medicine goes to the entire body. For example, radioactive iodine capsules are given to treat some types of thyroid cancer. Another example is the use of intravenous radioactive material to treat pain due to cancer that has spread to the bone. Radiolabeled antibodies are monoclonal antibodies with radioactive particles attached. These antibodies are designed to attach themselves directly to the cancer cell and damage it with small amounts of radiation.

Cancer doctors now know much more about how cancer cells function. New cancer therapies use this information to target cancer cell functions and stop them. Called targeted therapies, they can be more specific in stopping cancer cells from growing and may make other treatments work better. For example, some medicines work to prevent cancers from growing by preventing the growth of new blood vessels that would nourish the cancer. Other targeted therapies work more directly on cancer cells by blocking the action of molecules on the surface of cancer cells called growth factors.



Some medicines called radioprotectors can help protect healthy tissue from the effects of radiation.

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy



Difference Between Radiation And Chemotherapy

March 28, 2011 Posted by Olivia

Radiation vs Chemotherapy

Radiation and chemotherapy are treatment methods that are used to destroy cancerous cells once this deadly disease has been diagnosed by the doctors. Cancer is becoming more and more common these days and doctors are finding themselves unable to have a miracle cure for this dreaded disease. A vast majority of people are unaware of the difference between radiation and chemotherapy. Many talk of them interchangeably, while others think that they have same working and effects. However, the two methods are entirely different and have their limitations and features that are also different.

One thing to note is that both radiation and chemotherapy are used to treat cancer. Sometimes, they are used alone, sometimes in conjunction with each other and surgery. Chemotherapy is actually the use of drugs to kill cancerous cells while radiation is use of rays to generate heat and kill these cells.

There are different ways to administer these treatment methods. While in chemotherapy, drugs are either given orally or injected into the body of the patient, in radiation, your body, especially the part suffering from cancer is subjected to radiation through a machine. Sometimes, doctors insert a radioactive material inside the body to kill cancer cells.

In brief:

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How Is Radiation Therapy Given

Radiation therapy can be given in 3 ways:

  • External radiation : uses a machine that directs high-energy rays from outside the body into the tumor. Its done during outpatient visits to a hospital or treatment center. Its usually given over many weeks and sometimes will be given twice a day for several weeks. A person receiving external radiation is not radioactive and does not have to follow special safety precautions at home.
  • Internal radiation: Internal radiation is also called brachytherapy. A radioactive source is put inside the body into or near the tumor. With some types of brachytherapy, radiation might be placed and left in the body to work. Sometimes it is placed in the body for a period of time and then removed. This is decided based on the type of cancer. Special safety precautions are needed for this type of radiation for a period of time. But its important to know if the internal radiation is left in the body, after a while it eventually is no longer radioactive.
  • Systemic radiation: Radioactive drugs given by mouth or put into a vein are used to treat certain types of cancer. These drugs then travel throughout the body. You might have to follow special precautions at home for a period of time after these drugs are given.

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Is Radiation Therapy Safe


Some patients are concerned about the safety of radiation therapy. Radiation has been used successfully to treat patients for more than 100 years. In that time, many advances have been made to ensure that radiation therapy is safe and effective.

Before you begin receiving radiation therapy, your radiation oncology team will carefully tailor your plan to make sure that you receive safe and accurate treatment. Treatment will be carefully planned to focus on the cancer while avoiding healthy organs in the area. Throughout your treatment, members of your team check and re-check your plan. Special computers are also used to monitor and double-check the treatment machines to make sure that the proper treatment is given. If you undergo external beam radiation therapy, you will not be radioactive after treatment ends because the radiation does not stay in your body. However, if you undergo brachytherapy, tiny radioactive sources will be implanted inside your body, in the tumor or in the tissue surrounding the tumor, either temporarily or permanently. Your radiation oncologist will explain any special precautions that you or your family and friends may need to take.

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Benefits And Risks Of Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is an essential treatment option for many cancers. The drugs used in chemotherapy are often given so that they can reach and kill cancer cells system-wide, outside of the primary tumor your doctor may have discovered.

When cancer spreads, it can be challenging to treat. So chemotherapy is an important treatment option to help kill cancer cells that may have escaped the primary tumor and spread to other parts of the body but are too small to see these are called micrometastases.

Chemotherapy can also help treat any tumor pieces or cells left over after other treatment approaches, like surgery or radiation therapy.

But because the drugs used in chemotherapy can be nonspecific to cancers and impact other healthy tissues of the body, they cause some side effects. These side effects are typically limited to when youre actively being treated with chemotherapy and will rapidly improve after treatment is discontinued.

Youll also likely feel exhausted by the treatments and need to take time off work the day of and the day after your treatments.

Chemotherapy is often given in cycles. For example, you may receive one week of treatment and then have a few weeks off to allow your body to heal before the next treatment.

Radiation Vs Infusion Vs Chemotherapy: A Primer

A cancer diagnosis can be frightening and challenging for anyone it does not have to be though. As a patient learns more about their cancer diagnosis and treatment options, it can become much easier to face the challenge head-on. Knowledge and understanding does not just calm our fears, it can build our confidence. With this in mind, we thought we would take a moment today to briefly discuss three words you may often associate with modern cancer services: radiation, infusion, and chemotherapy. Any one or even all three of these words may be included as a part of a patients care at Southeastern Meds Cancer Center. No one option is necessarily superior to another. Recognizing the differences and connections between the words, however, is a great first step for any prospective patient with cancer and their loved ones.

First, well talk about Radiation Therapy. According to Southeastern Meds Director of Cancer Services, Dominic Crock, this type of treatment generally involves the use of a linear accelerator to precisely provide radiation to the targeted area in the body where a tumor has been found. The treatments goal is to destroy the cancer cells while minimizing any sacrifice of good cells, he says. Southeastern Meds new cancer center features the newest model of linear accelerator available. The new linear accelerator is on par with those found at larger cancer treatment centers.

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Radiation Therapy Vs Chemotherapy

Difference between radiation therapy and chemotherapy: Cancer is a difficult disease to treat in fact, many people have died and will die because of it. It is a disease caused both by a persons lifestyle and by their genes. Tobacco use, inadequate diet, infections, radiation, family inheritance and pollution are the main causes of cancer.

Types Of Radiation Therapy

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Radiation can be administered in two ways: internally or externally:

External: External beam radiation is delivered from a machine. It is very similar to receiving a chest X-ray. Most people are treated five days a week for one to 10 weeks, depending on the type and location of cancer, their overall health, and other factors. The treatment only takes a few minutes, and is not generally given over the weekend.

You will be asked to lie flat on a treatment table, under the radiation machine. Other parts of your body may be protected with special shields or blocks to prevent the radiation from going to those areas.

External treatments include:

  • 3D conformal radiation therapy after the tumor is mapped through imaging, beams of radiation treat the cancerous tumor.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy gives the radiation oncologists the ability to more precisely custom sculpt the shape of the tumor. This helps deliver the right amount of radiation more accurately, as well as helps to preserve healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.

Internal: Radiation that is placed inside of the body is called internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy. A radioactive source, called an implant, is placed directly to the tumor or near the tumor. This delivers large doses of radiation to directly to the source of your cancer. These implants may look like a wire, pellet, or seeds.

The most common types of cancers treated with internal radiation therapy are:

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What Is The Difference Between Radiation And Chemo

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both treatments for cancer the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells to surrounding tissues. Chemotherapy, or chemo, uses special drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy, or radiation, kills these cells with high-energy beams such as X-rays or protons.

Is chemotherapy radiation painful?

Chemotherapy and radiation destroy cancer cells. They also destroy normal cells in the process. These include cells of the protective lining of the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract. This can cause sores in the mouth and/or throat that are painful.

What comes first chemo or radiation?

Giving Chemo and Radiation Therapy at Same Time Offers Same Benefits as Sequential Timing. If early-stage breast cancer is going to be treated with both chemotherapy and external beam radiation therapy, chemotherapy usually is given first. Radiation generally starts after chemotherapy is done.

Radiation And Chemotherapy: What Are The Differences

When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, they are often presented with three main treatment options chemotherapy radiation therapy and surgery. These can be done singularly or in combination with each other. The two most common treatments physicians recommend are radiation and chemotherapy. They both have the same goals, which are to:

  • Eliminate Cancer When used to destroy cancer cells to the point that it is no longer detectable in the patients body and will not grow back.
  • Control Cancer When used to keep cancer from spreading, to slow its growth or to destroy cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.
  • Ease Cancer Symptoms Also known as palliative care, both radiation and chemotherapy can be used to shrink tumors that are causing pain or pressure.

While they may have the same goals overall, radiation and chemotherapy have very different ways of achieving those objectives.


Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. It works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly.


Radiation therapy involves high doses of radiation being delivered directly into the tumor to kill cancer cells. This treatment option may be used to eliminate cancer or help control the disease and ease the symptoms that it causes.


The key difference between the two is their delivery method.


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How Much Radiation Therapy Costs

Radiation therapy can be expensive. It uses complex machines and involves the services of many health care providers. The exact cost of your radiation therapy depends on the cost of health care where you live, what type of radiation therapy you get, and how many treatments you need.

Talk with your health insurance company about what services it will pay for. Most insurance plans pay for radiation therapy. To learn more, talk with the business office at the clinic or hospital where you go for treatment. If you need financial assistance, there are organizations that may be able to help. To find such organizations, go to the National Cancer Institute database, Organizations that Offer Support Services and search for “financial assistance.” Or call toll-free 1-800-4-CANCER to ask for information on organizations that may help.

Who Are The Members Of The Radiation Therapy Team

Difference Between Radiation and Chemotherapy [Updated 2022]

A team of highly trained medical professionals will be involved in your care during radiation therapy. This team is led by a radiation oncologist, a doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.

Radiation Oncologists

Radiation oncologists are the doctors who will oversee your radiation therapy treatments. These physicians work with the other members of the radiation therapy team to develop and prescribe your treatment plan and make sure that each treatment is given accurately. Your radiation oncologist will also track your progress and adjust the treatment as necessary to make sure you receive the best care. Radiation oncologists help identify and treat any side effects that may occur due to radiation therapy. They work closely with other cancer doctors, including medical oncologists and surgeons, and all members of the radiation oncology team.

Radiation oncologists have completed at least four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of general medical training and four years of residency training in radiation oncology. They have extensive training in cancer medicine and the safe use of radiation to treat disease. If they pass a special examination, they are certified by the American Board of Radiology. You should ask if your doctor is board certified.

Medical Physicists


Radiation Therapists

Radiation Oncology Nurses

Other Healthcare professionals

Social Workers


Physical Therapists


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What Is The Difference Between Chemotherapy And Radiotherapy

The main difference between chemotherapy and radiotherapy is that chemotherapy uses special drugs to shrink or kill cancer cells while radiotherapy uses high-energy beams such as X-rays or protons to kill cancer cells.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are two types of treatments used in cancer, which is an uncontrolled growth and spread of cells to surrounding tissues. The main goals of both treatments are to cure or get rid of cancer cells, control or shrink or slow cancer cells, and shrink tumors to reduce pain.

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How Is Radiation Therapy Used In Cancer Care

A radiation oncologist may use external beam radiation therapy or brachytherapy to treat cancer. External beam radiation therapy can be generated by a linear accelerator . Proton therapy is another form of external beam radiation therapy that uses cyclotrons or synchrotrons to produce charged atoms that destroy tumors.

Radiation therapy given by radioactive sources that are put inside the patient is called brachytherapy. The radioactive sources are sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters, and implanted directly into or near a tumor on a temporary or permanent basis. Brachytherapy is a common treatment for cancers of the prostate, uterus, cervix or breast.

Some cancer patients may be treated with radiation as their primary treatment. In some cases, radiation therapy is given at the same time as chemotherapy. Chemotherapy used with radiation therapy can improve the local response and reduce metastatic disease.

In other cases, radiation therapy is given before or after surgery.

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Difference Between Radiation And Chemo

Categorized under Health | Difference Between Radiation and Chemo

Radiation vs Chemo

Cancer is a dreadful disease that affects thousands of people across the world. Luckily, there are two very effective treatments that can help tackle the onslaught of the disease and help cure it too. Both chemotherapy and radiation can be effectively used to tackle the malaise. However, there are a number of differences between the two treatments.

Method of action

Chemotherapy uses the bloodstream to deliver a deathblow to cancer cells. Trouble is, their action is not confined to cancer cells only. Since the drugs cannot differentiate between cancerous and non cancerous cells, they affect both. Chemotherapy uses medications that damage the DNA of a cell. This prevents them from duplicating themselves. However, since they cannot isolate cancer cells, they usually end up harming good cells also. Radiation on the other hand targets the cancer cells only. It uses a type of energy that destroys cells that are cancerous. It also minimizes tumors. Radiation therapy is also called X ray therapy, radiotherapy and irradiation.


Chemotherapy is used to deal with cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. It is also used to deal with cancers of the breast, lungs and ovaries.Radiation therapy targets the solid tumors. This includes those of the cervix, larynx prostate, skin and spine. They can also be used in case of breast cancers.


Method of administration

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