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Radiation Oncology

Radiation Oncology

About Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncology is a targeted treatment for cancer. Arizona Center for Cancer Care is a state-of-the-art cancer center with offices in Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Surprise, Anthem, Peoria, Fountain Hills, Wickenburg, Apache Junction, Sun City, Sun City West, Goodyear, and Tempe, Arizona, that specializes in radiation oncology. With multiple offices across the Valley, getting the oncology care you need is only a few miles away. Call the office nearest you or schedule an appointment online today. Telemedicine appointments are also available.

Radiation Oncology Q & A

What is radiation oncology?

Radiation is a target form of cancer treatment that uses high-energy particles or waves to kill cancer cells. This treatment can be administered externally from a machine called a linear accelerator, targeting the tumor from outside the body, or internally by placing radioactive material near the cancer site.

Radiation therapy exploits the fact that cancer cells lack the robust DNA repair mechanisms present in healthy tissue. By delivering targeted doses of radiation, irreparable DNA damage is induced specifically in cancer cells, effectively halting their growth and causing cancer cells to die, while allowing healthy cells to repair and survive. Treatment is usually given daily over several weeks to allow healthy tissues to repair between radiation sessions.

Depending on the type and stage of cancer, radiation therapy may be administered alone, in conjunction with chemotherapy, or as a part of a multimodal treatment plan that includes surgery. The combination of treatments is tailored to each patient's specific condition to achieve the best possible outcome.
Arizona Center for Cancer Care is a state-of-the-art cancer center with radiation oncology clinics in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Gilbert, Peoria, and Surprise.

Radiation oncology is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells in targeted locations. The energy beams only affect the area undergoing treatment, which is why radiation oncology is called a local therapy. 

Radiation oncology works by damaging the DNA in the cancer cell. That damage stops the replication of cancer cells, preventing further growth of the cancer. Ultimately, the damaged cancer cells die, and your body gets rid of them.

You need days or weeks of radiation therapy to damage enough of the cancer cells to stop further growth. And, the cancer cells continue to die weeks to months after you stop treatment.

What are the types of radiation?

  • External Beam Radiation

External beam radiation therapy is a common cancer treatment that uses high-energy rays or particles, such as X-rays to destroy or damage cancer cells. This treatment is delivered from outside the body, targeting the cancerous tumor with precision while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues. During the procedure, a machine called a linear accelerator directs the radiation beams towards the tumor from various angles, effectively destroying the cancer cells' ability to grow and multiply. External beam radiation therapy is typically administered over multiple sessions, allowing for the delivery of precise doses while giving healthy cells time to recover between treatments.

  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

Radiosurgery, also known as stereotactic radiation therapy, delivers a highly focused and precise dose of radiation to small tumors or specific areas within the body. Despite its name, radiosurgery doesn't involve a surgical procedure. It's often used for tumors in the brain, spine, or other critical areas where conventional surgery may be challenging. 

  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is a highly precise radiation treatment that delivers high doses of radiation to small, well-defined tumors in the body, typically over a shorter period of time than conventional radiation therapy. It uses advanced imaging techniques to precisely target the tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. SBRT is commonly used to treat tumors in the lungs, liver, spine, and other areas where surgery may be difficult or risky. It's particularly effective for patients who cannot undergo surgery or prefer a non-invasive treatment option.

  • Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy involves placing radioactive material directly inside or next to the tumor site. This allows for a high dose of radiation to be delivered to the cancer while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, brachytherapy can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

The radioactive seeds may remain in place for a few minutes (high-dose rate implants) or permanently (low-dose rate implants).

Brachytherapy may be utilized in the treatment of prostate cancer, gynecologic cancers, breast cancer, and skin cancer. 

  • GammaTile

GammaTile™ therapy is a specific form of brachytherapy that utilizes small, biocompatible tiles containing radioactive sources, typically cesium-131. These tiles are placed directly into the surgical cavity after tumor removal, where they emit low-energy gamma radiation over time. This targeted radiation delivery helps to destroy any remaining cancer cells while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. GammaTile™ therapy is particularly beneficial for patients with brain tumors, providing localized treatment while reducing the need for additional radiation sessions. For more information please click here.


Radiopharmaceuticals are drugs containing radioactive substances that are used in radiation oncology procedures. These substances are injected intravenously into the bloodstream, or swallowed, and they accumulate in specific organs or tissues affected by cancer. Once localized, the radioactive emissions target and destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy surrounding tissue.

PLUVICTO is a radiopharmaceutical used to treat adults with an metastatic hormone-resistant prostate cancer cells anywhere in the body that has failed other treatments.

View the AZCCC patient safety video here. 

  • Xofigo

Xofigo is a treatment that targets prostate cancer lesions that have spread to the bone after other failed therapies.

LUTATHERA® (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate) is a radiopharmeceutical used to treat neuroendocrine tumors that are positive for the hormone receptor somatostatin, in the pancreas and bowel.

  • Radioactive Iodine (I-131)

Radioactive Iodine used to treat thyroid cancer cells after surgery or hyperthyroidism.

What can I expect during my radiation treatments?

During radiation treatments, you can expect a structured and carefully monitored process. The treatment itself is painless and typically lasts only a few minutes. After each treatment, you can resume your normal daily activities. Your radiation oncologist and healthcare team will closely monitor you throughout the course of treatment and provide guidance on managing any side effects that may arise.