Common Radiation Therapy Terms

Abdominal compression device — apparatus that helps hold your body still to ensure proper positioning during cancer treatment

Adjuvant therapy — additional cancer treatment following your initial treatment; given to reduce the risk that your cancer will return

Brachytherapy — a type of radiation therapy where radioactive material (seeds, needles, catheters, wires, etc.) is placed directly into the tumor site; also called internal-beam radiation therapy

External-beam radiation therapy — a form of cancer treatment using high-powered X-rays or particles directed at the body from an outside source

Fractionated — divided

Frameless — a form of stereotactic radiotherapy conducted without the use of a head frame

Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) — the use of frequent imaging during your radiation therapy treatment to ensure absolute accuracy of treatment

Imaging — a process of producing pictures of the inside of your body

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) — an advanced form of radiation therapy using a computer-controlled linear accelerator; delivers precise, conformal 3-D radiation doses of various intensity to the tumor from multiple angles

Internal-beam radiation therapy — a type of radiation therapy where radioactive material (seeds, needles, catheters, wires, etc.) is placed directly into the tumor site; also called brachytherapy

Interstitial radiation therapy — a type of radiation therapy where radioactive material contained in seeds, wires or catheters is placed directly into your tumor site

Intracavitary radiation — a type of radiation therapy where radioactive material contained in seeds, wires or catheters is placed directly into a body cavity (e.g., vagina, chest)

Intraoperative radiation therapy — a type of radiation therapy directed at a tumor during surgery

Medical dosimetrist — a health professional who assists in determining the proper radiation dose for treatment

Medical radiation physicist — a health professional who ensures the radiation system delivers the correct dosage to the correct site; the physicist assists the radiation oncologist in determining the most effective treatment schedule and dose

Palliative care — treatment or care given to improve quality of life to those whose condition is serious or grave. The goal of palliative care is to ease the symptoms or side effects of a disease

Radiation oncologist — a physician who specializes in using radiation therapy to treat cancer

Radiation therapist — a health professional who assists in giving radiation treatment

Respiratory gating — a system that monitors your tumor as you breathe during radiation therapy to allow for greater accuracy during your breathing cycle

Simulation therapist — a health professional who assists in planning radiation therapy so that your tumor is precisely located

Stereotactic radiosurgery — a form of radiation therapy that focuses high-powered X-rays on a small area of the body in a single dose

Stereotactic radiotherapy — a form of radiation therapy that focuses high-powered X-rays on a small area of the body in divided (fractionated) doses

Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy (3DCRT) — a form of radiation therapy using a 3-D picture of your tumor and a high dose of radiation


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