Palliative Radiation Therapy

VIDEO | 10:00

Radiation oncology experts describe the process of receiving palliative radiation therapy, side effects that patients commonly experience, and Memorial Sloan Kettering’s team approach. Palliative radiation therapy is designed to prevent or relieve symptoms and is not intended to cure the disease.

Nurse practitioner Carol Ann Milazzo details the four steps involved in receiving therapy, and common, temporary side effects such as fatigue, radiation dermatitis, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and a sensation of burning hemorrhoids. Pain and palliative care specialist Roma Tickoo dispels some common myths associated with palliative medicine. Radiation oncologist Beryl McCormick, Chief of the External Beam Radiotherapy Service, notes that while Memorial Sloan Kettering delivers palliative radiation to hundreds of patients annually, the choice to pursue the therapy is an individual one.

The video was developed with grant funding awarded to radiation oncology resident Kavita Dharmarajan from the American Medical Association Foundation and Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Patient Education Program.