Radiation therapy is the use of X-rays to destroy cancer cells and
shrink tumors. Radiation damages the genetic material of cells in the area
being treated, leaving the cells unable to continue to grow. Although radiation
damages normal cells as well as cancer cells, the normal cells can repair
themselves. The cancer cells cannot.
Radiation is also used to control pain by destroying a growing
tumor that is invading or interfering with normal tissue, such as when a tumor
presses on bones, nerves, or other organs. This may be done with radiation to part of the body or, in rare cases, with radiation to the whole body. Or you may be given a shot with a radioactive medicine.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common malignancy in people of European descent, with an associated lifetime risk of 30%. While exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) is the risk factor most closely linked to the development of BCC, other environmental factors (such as ionizing radiation, chronic arsenic ingestion, and immunosuppression) and genetic factors (such as family history, skin type, and genetic syndromes) also potentially contribute to carcinogenesis. In...