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Redmond Regional Medical Center
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Radiation Therapy for Leukemia

Radiation therapy uses high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. It is more effective against solid tumors than blood cancers like leukemia, but it may be used in special circumstances.

If radiation therapy is used to treat leukemia, it is done with external beam radiation. In external beam radiation therapy, radiation is produced by a machine positioned outside the body. Short bursts of x-rays are directed at specific areas. The radiation oncologist will direct the radiation beam to affect as much cancer as possible.

Radiation therapy may be used in leukemia treatment to:

  • Eliminate unhealthy marrow before a bone marrow transplant
  • Relieve clogging in the spleen as an alternative to a splenectomy
  • Treat areas like the spinal cord, brain, or testicles to prevent spread of leukemia in these areas
  • To ease symptoms caused by congestion of leukemia cells in advanced stages

Revision Information

  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/leukemias/acute-lymphocytic-leukemia-(all). Updated October 2014. Accessed February 4, 2016.

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/leukemias/chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia-(cll). Updated October 2014. Accessed February 4, 2016.

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/leukemias/chronic-myelogenous-leukemia-(cml). Updated October 2014. Accessed February 4, 2016.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Redmond Regional Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.