Radiation 2017-07-28T11:00:37+00:00


Before your treatment, we will explain why radiation therapy is recommended for your diagnosis, what you can expect during radiation therapy treatments, and how to manage side effects for your overall well being.


“Radiation Therapy and You” is a book written for you – someone who is about to get or is now getting radiation therapy for cancer. People who are close to you may also find this book helpful.

This book is a guide that you can refer to throughout radiation therapy. It has facts about radiation therapy and side effects and describes how you can care for yourself during and after treatment.

Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and stop them from spreading.
At low doses, radiation is used as an X-ray to see inside your body and take pictures, like those taken of your teeth or of broken bones.
Radiation used in cancer treatment works in much the same way, except that it is given at higher doses.

Radiation therapy can be external beam (when a machine outside your body aims radiation at cancer cells) or internal (when radiation is put inside your body, in or near the cancer cells).
Sometimes people get both forms of radiation therapy.
To learn more about external beam radiation therapy, see “External Beam Radiation Therapy”.
To learn more about internal radiation therapy, see “Internal Beam Radiation Therapy”.

Many people with cancer need radiation therapy.
In fact, more than half (about 60 percent) of people with cancer get radiation therapy.
Sometimes, radiation therapy is the only kind of cancer treatment people need.

Given in high doses, radiation kills or slows the growth of cancer cells. Radiation therapy is used to:

  • Treat cancer.Radiation can be used to cure, stop, or slow the growth of cancer.
  • Reduce symptoms.When a cure is not possible, radiation may be used to shrink cancer tumors in order to reduce pressure. Radiation therapy used in this way can treat problems such as pain, or it can prevent problems such as blindness or loss of bowel and bladder control.

Radiation therapy does not kill cancer cells right away. It takes days or weeks of treatment before cancer cells start to die. Then, cancer cells keep dying for weeks or months after radiation therapy ends.

Radiation not only kills or slows the growth of cancer cells, it can also affect nearby healthy cells. The healthy cells almost always recover after treatment is over.

But sometimes people may have side effects that do not get better or are severe. Doctors try to protect healthy cells during treatment by:

  • Using as low a dose of radiation as possible.The radiation dose is balanced between being high enough to kill cancer cells yet low enough to limit damage to healthy cells.
  • Spreading out treatment over time.You may get radiation therapy once a day for several weeks or in smaller doses twice a day. Spreading out the radiation dose allows normal cells to recover while cancer cells die.
  • Aiming radiation at a precise part of your body.New techniques, such as IMRT and 3-D conformal radiation therapy, allow your doctor to aim higher doses of radiation at your cancer while reducing the radiation to nearby healthy tissue.
  • Using medicines.Some drugs can help protect certain parts of your body, such as the salivary glands that make saliva (spit).


Shirley Baker-Southwest Women's Oncology

“They were very empathetic, very knowledgeable, very efficient and they are my friends today.  I love them all. I come in here just to say hi to everybody and Dr. Finkelstein. I have complete and total trust in her and her abilities.  Everything she has told me and done is just above board and I have complete faith in her.”

Judie Peru-Southwest Women's Oncology

“I was so comforted and excited to have someone listen and hear what I had to say and actually supported me. I appreciated the balance immensely of true knowledge and willingness to be open to what I was finding in regard to alternative medicine.”

Janie Manzanares-Southwest Women's Oncology

“I’m grateful that Karen came into my life. She has so much integrity and love for her patients and  if you end up here you are in a good place.”


“She made sure I understood everything. If I had questions after hours, I could always call her on her cell. I never felt like I was a burden. I know Dr. Finkelstein is here for me.”


“I was very impressed when I met Dr. Finkelstein. She was relatable. She has two young children and a career. I have two young children and a career.”



To help women triumph over their gynecologic and oncology needs in a warm and nurturing way.


Meet Our Team

Schedule an Appointment

New Patient Forms

Referring Providers

Our Patients Inspire Us

Every one of our patients is an inspiration. Read their stories of bravery and strength in our Patient Experiences section.

Read Our Patient Experiences