Is Radiation Therapy Safe?

When people hear the term “radiation”, they often have visions of radioactive superheroes or concerns that they may become “radioactive” and harm people around them, including children.

It is not unusual to have questions about the safety of radiation therapy like:

  • Will it make me radioactive?
  • What is done to make sure I am safe?
  • Is it safe for people to be around me?

Does Radiation Therapy Make Me Radioactive?

External beam radiation does not make you radioactive. It passes through you like an x-ray. It does not stay in your body. That’s why it’s safe for you to be around other people, even children.

How Does My Care Team Make Sure I am Safe?

External beam radiation therapy is targeted to only treat the cancerous cells and to stay away from your body’s healthy cells.

It is not like when you turn on a light switch and the light fills the whole room. Radiation is precise in the way that it is delivered.

The machine delivers radiation only to a prescribed area. This is why you do not need external shields to stay safe.

  • Your care team will develop a radiation treatment plan that is safe and customized just for you.
  • Computers and members of your care team monitor every treatment, as well as the equipment.
  • Your plan is also checked and re-checked throughout your therapy.

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