In many cases of leukemia, chemotherapy is the preferred form of treatment. When leukemia has spread into the spinal fluid, brain or elsewhere outside the bloodstream or bone marrow, radiation therapy may be recommended. AML patients preparing for a stem cell transplant operation often receive radiation prior to the procedure.
Most bladder cancers are diagnosed early enough to respond successfully to radiation therapy. Radiation oncologists recommend radiation therapy for bladder cancer patients want to avoid surgical removal of their bladder and to treat bladder cancer that has spread into the body.
When lung cancer has not spread into the body, surgery is usually the first option to remove either small cell or non-small cell lesions. This procedure may be followed by radiation treatments for several weeks to ensure cancer is eliminated. A medical oncologist will evaluate lung cancer patients before determining if a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is needed.
Whether malignant or benign, brain tumors are sometimes treated with radiation depending on their location and size. Whole brain radiation treatment targets the entire brain for the purpose of eradication microscopic tumors. Stereotactic radiosurgery involves focusing a high-intensity radiation beam at an individual tumor.
When cancer cells are found in the bone marrow, spleen and/or lymph nodes, a medical oncologist may recommend radiation treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Early stage non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma typically responds well to radiation therapy. To address a more advanced case of non-Hodgkin’s, a medical oncologist may recommend chemotherapy as an adjunct with radiation therapy.
Radiation therapy is often used to treat all stages of breast cancer and significantly reduces the risk of recurring breast cancer. If surgical removal of a tumor is performed (lumpectomy), radiation therapy is recommended following surgery to lower the chance of breast cancer returning. Hormone therapy combined with radiation therapy is another treatment option for certain types of breast cancer.
For esophageal cancer patients who don’t want surgery or cannot have surgery due to their age or health condition, radiation therapy is the standard treatment for esophageal cancer. Medical oncologists often prescribe a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to aggressively address rapidly spreading esophageal cancer. If surgery is planned to remove lesions or tumors, radiation therapy may be given prior to surgery to help shrink tumors.
Radiation therapy is recommended for low grade prostate cancer, as an adjunct with hormone therapy or if previously treated prostate cancer returns. Hormone therapy is sometimes used to shrink tumors before radiation therapy or surgery and to help reduce the risk if returning prostate cancer.
When treated early with radiation therapy, pancreatic cancer can be successfully controlled. Although many cases of pancreatic cancer are not detected until the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas, radiation treatments can help reduce symptoms and delay spread of cancer cells.
Rectal cancer is more commonly treated with radiation therapy than colon cancer. Chemotherapy may be the treatment recommended by medical oncologists than radiation therapy. Advanced cases of colorectal cancer are often treated with chemoradiation, or the combination of radiation and chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy is standard treatment for chondrosarcoma that are located where surgery cannot remove all cancer cells. In addition, a medical oncologist may recommend patients receive radiation therapy before or after surgery.
Although radiation therapy is not necessary for many melanoma patients, it is commonly used to treat early stage skin cancer when surgery isn’t an option and occasionally after surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes. If melanoma returns after surgery, radiation therapy may be useful as an adjunct with chemotherapy.