How You Can Get Radiation Therapy for Leukemia
Radiation therapy uses strong X-rays to kill leukemia cells. For leukemia, this treatment is most often used after a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. It may also be used to help control pain or other symptoms. In the rare cases that leukemia causes a tumor, radiation may be used to shrink it. A radiation oncologist sets your treatment plan. The plan details what kind of radiation you’ll have and how long the treatment will last. This doctor can also tell you how you may feel during and after the treatment.
If you’re preparing for a stem cell transplant, you will have radiation as an inpatient. Otherwise, you may be able to have radiation as an outpatient.
Once your radiation oncologist has mapped out your treatment plan, a radiation therapist treats you. There are a few ways to do that.
External radiation to one part of your body. This is used to treat leukemia that has spread to areas such as your brain, spinal fluid, or testicles. It may kill leukemia cells or help reduce bone pain. Or it may be used, in rare cases, to shrink a tumor. This treatment directs strong X-rays very precisely. Each session takes only a few minutes. You can have it done as an outpatient. That means you don’t need to stay overnight in the hospital.