Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It affects cancer cells only in the treated area.

Doctors use different types of radiation therapy to treat cancer. Sometimes people receive a combination of types:

  • External radiation
  • Internal radiation
  • Intraoperative radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic body radiation treatment (SBRT) or gamma knife

Side effects depend mainly on the amount of radiation given and the part of your body that is treated. They can include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stools or urgent bowel movements
  • Urinary problems, such as being unable to stop the flow of urine from the bladder

Skin sensitivity in the treated area that may become red, dry and tender. The skin near the anus is especially sensitive

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