Vanderbilt Department of Radiation Oncology

Patient Care

New technology that's known as "stereotactic radiosurgery" can deliver radiation with millimeter precision -- about the width of a fingernail.

Radiation therapy, sometimes called radiotherapy, is the use of various forms of radiation to safely and effectively treat cancer and other diseases. Doctors use radiation to cure cancer, to control growth of cancer and to relieve pain and other symptoms.

Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA within cancer cells and destroying the ability of the cancer cells to reproduce. When these damaged cells die, the body naturally eliminates them. Normal cells are also affected by radiation, but they are able to repair themselves in a way that cancer cells cannot.

While you undergo radiation therapy, a team of highly trained medical professionals will be working together to make sure you receive the best care possible. A radiation oncologist, a doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer, leads this team

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