Radiation treatment is a type of cancer treatment that:
Uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours
Treats many types of cancer as well as some conditions that are non-cancerous.
Can be used alone or combined with other treatments such as surgery, or chemotherapy.
It is usually given by external beam, where the radiation is made by a machine outside the body and aimed at the tumour or cancer. Sometimes, radiation treatment is given internally, where the radioactive sources is placed inside the body, either in the tumour or close to it. This is called brachytherapy.
Books, Class & Videos
Radiation - Information and Resources for Patients and Families
Watch the video to learn more about what radiation treatment is, what the goals of treatment can be, how radiation treatments affect our cells and how radiation treatments are given. You’ll also meet 2 patients in the video – they share their experiences of being diagnosed and what treatment was like for them.
Two of our healthcare providers help you prepare for radiation treatment by talking about the CT simulation process and some of the special steps taken to prepare you and your body for treatment. Two of our patients share their experience of preparing for radiation and what their CT simulation experience was like.
Three of our radiation healthcare providers describe what will happen during treatment, what the treatment machine and room will look like, how the machine will move and how the amount of radiation (dose) and the number of treatments (fractionation) is specific to each person and the type of cancer they have. Our patients share their experience about having radiation treatment.
Side effects depend on the area of the body getting treatment and the amount of radiation given. In this video, you will learn about when side effects usually develop and what some of the common side effects are. One of our dietitians talks about importance of nutrition and hydration (getting enough fluids) and to maintain your weight during treatment. Two patients also share their experiences.
Learn how to live your best while you are having radiation treatment. In this video, you’ll meet 3 healthcare professionals who talk about the resources available to help you live well during cancer treatments. A social worker, dietitian and physiotherapist all share tips and advice on resources, eating well and managing daily activities. Some of our patients also share what worked for them.
Watch this video if you will be undergoing total body irradiation (a treatment used to prepare people for a bone marrow transplant). Dr. Jeffrey Cao, a radiation oncologist, describes what total body irradiation is, why it is done, and the steps to prepare for it including a CT simulation appointment. Dr. Greg Peirce, a medical physicists, describes some of the details of having this treatment. This treatment is provided in Calgary at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, where the stem cell (or bone marrow) transplant team for the province is located. Your consultation appointment with a radiation oncologist and your CT simulation appointment can be done at a cancer centres closer to your home.
Vanessa and Felix – A Guide to Radiation Treatment (for kids)
This video tells the tale of a young girl and her green sidekick “Felix”. Felix and Vanessa show us a typical day in Radiation Treatment and explain some of the things that kids and families might want to know about radiation treatments. It is to help inspire our smallest patients and their families to feel ready for their Radiation Treatment experience.
In this class presentation on Radiation Treatment, a radiation therapist and nurse from Cancer Care Alberta will talk about what Radiation Treatment is, what radiation treatments are like, how together we keep you safe and resources available to help you through treatment.
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