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External Beam Radiation Therapy


External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is used to kill cancer cells or stop them from spreading. EBRT is also used to decrease pain caused by bone metastasis. Radiation is a very strong type of x-ray.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

During your procedure:

You may be given medicine to help you stay calm and relaxed. Your healthcare provider will position your body for the procedure. Pillows or supports may be used to hold you in place. Shields may be put over you to block radiation exposure to other parts of your body. A machine will send a beam of radiation to the area of the cancer. You should not feel any pain, heat, or tingling during the procedure. Your healthcare provider will stay nearby in a room and you will be able to talk to him.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.


  • Normal cells may be damaged by the radiation. This can cause your tissues or organs to stop working properly. Bone marrow cells may be damaged and increase your risk for infections and fatigue. High doses of radiation can weaken your bones and increase your risk for a fracture. Your skin may become red and dry. It may also bleed, flake off, or start to peel.
  • You may have nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. You may lose your hair. Your pain may not go away for days or weeks, or it may return. You may need more treatment. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about External Beam Radiation Therapy (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.