Understanding Bladder Cancer: Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is also called radiotherapy or radiation. This is a very effective way to destroy cancer cells that may remain after your stomach surgery.

Radiation can pinpoint the cancer cells very well. In addition, radiation therapy is relatively easy to tolerate, because its side effects are limited to the treated area.

A radiation oncologist will oversee your radiation treatments.

Radiation treatment may be used:

  • As part of the treatment for early stage bladder cancer, after limited surgery.
  • As the main treatment for people with early stage cancers who can't have surgery.
  • As part of the treatment for advanced bladder cancers.
  • To help prevent or treat symptoms caused by advanced bladder cancers.

Radiation treatment is often combined with chemotherapy to make it more effective.

What to Expect

The goal of radiation is to kill as much cancer as possible while preserving normal tissue. Your radiation oncologist will determine how many treatments you will receive. Sometimes treatments are given once a day and sometimes twice a day. A treatment usually only takes a few minutes. The total treatment time can take between 5 and 8 weeks, depending on the total dose required.

The most common side effects of radiation are gastrointestinal symptoms, like diarrhea, fatigue, cramping and irritation.

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