Radiation Therapy for Bone Cancer

Radiation Therapy for Bone Cancer


There have been many advances in radiation technology, and all are available at MSK. We sometimes give radiation therapy along with or instead of surgery to destroy tumors or shrink them. We may also use radiation therapy to kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery or to treat tumors that cannot be surgically removed, sometimes in combination with chemotherapy. If your cancer has spread and is pressing against or moving bone, we may also use radiation therapy to relieve your symptoms, including pain. Your doctor will explain which type of therapy would be best for you. Some of the common types of radiation are:

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

The most common type of radiation therapy for bone cancer is intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). It uses sophisticated computer programs to calculate and deliver varying doses of radiation directly to the tumor from different angles. This allows your doctor to safely administer a higher dose and increases your chance for a cure.

Proton Therapy

For some patients, proton therapy may be best. This new method delivers radiation with less exposure to organs near the tumor. Proton treatment is especially popular for children because it can minimize the risk to healthy, growing tissues.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a highly specialized and extremely precise technique. It involves delivering very high doses of radiation directly to tumors while minimizing the effects on surrounding healthy tissue. Because of the strength of the doses, it’s very likely to effectively control the tumor. And since the surrounding healthy tissue receives a much lower radiation dose, the risk of side effects is low. Our experienced team of radiation oncologists and medical physicists work together to perform stereotactic radiosurgery on primary bone cancer as well as cancer that has spread to the spine and other parts of the body.


Our doctors use brachytherapy to treat certain bone cancer cases. It is a form of internal radiation that delivers radiation therapy directly to the tumor itself. One common use is intraoperative radiation therapy, in which a large single dose of radiation is delivered directly to the tumor during surgery. Other types of brachytherapy involve temporary or permanent radioactive seeds that treat the inside of tumors.

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