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Redmond Regional Medical Center
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Radiation Therapy for Multiple Myeloma

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

If radiation therapy is used to treat multiple myeloma, 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 to treat areas that have symptoms if chemotherapy is not effective. It may be used to:

  • Ease symptoms caused by a tumor that returns to one site.
  • Eliminate all myeloma cells to prepare the bone marrow for a transplant of new, healthy stem cells.

Radiation therapy can also be used to relieve bone pain. However, radiation further weakens the bones and decreases bone marrow function, so it may not be an option for everyone.

Revision Information

  • Multiple myeloma. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003131-pdf.pdf. Accessed May 13, 2016.

  • Multiple myeloma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 7, 2016. Accessed May 13, 2016.

  • Multiple myeloma. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/plasma-cell-disorders/multiple-myeloma. Updated August 2013. Accessed May 13, 2016.

  • Radiation therapy. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at: http://www.lls.org/disease-information/myeloma/treatment/radiation-therapy. Accessed May 13, 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.