It’s used to kill cancer cells. “There are definitely some types of cancer where we do radiation alone,” said Dr. Kristina Mirabeau-Beale, a radiation oncologist on the medical staff of Lee Health.
Unlike chemotherapy, radiation therapy is delivered precisely to a particular body part. “It’s all about using our technology to precisely and safely deliver treatment, so the patient has a long life with minimal side effects,” she said.
For cancer treatment, radiation is high energy x-rays delivered by a machine. But radiation can also be used in lower energies for diagnostic purposes like cat scans or mammograms. “High dose radiation in a very uncontrolled setting can have long term effects, most notably causing cancer. That’s one reason why we take pains to really minimize the area getting radiation,” said Dr. Mirabeau-Beale.
Radiation therapy has been treating cancer for more than 100 years. Studies show three out of four patients with cancer will need radiation as part of their treatment. “Radiation ultimately affects the DNA of cells, so it affects the normal cells as well as cancer cells,” she said.
While healthy cells are able to repair themselves after radiation, cancer cells will die. “It’s very successful, but it very much also depends on the type of cancer. But overall radiation is extremely effective and is very much a part of the management of cancer,” said Dr. Mirabeau-Beale.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.