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Superficial X-ray therapy

Superficial X-ray therapy uses beams of low-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells while sparing the healthy tissue that surrounds the area being treated. In general, the higher the energy of the X-rays, the more deeply they can penetrate into the tissues of the body. Because superficial therapy uses a very low-energy X-ray, the maximum dose of radiation is delivered directly to the first few layers of skin, destroying the cancer cells, but minimizing radiation to deeper tissues.

What to expect

Superficial X-ray therapy is a non-invasive and relatively painless treatment. Depending on the area of the body being treated, you will either be lying on an exam table, or you may be seated partly upright in an exam chair.

The technologist will locate the area being treated and target the X-rays at that area. During the treatment, the targeted area may feel warm, but it should not be painful. You will need to remain very still throughout the treatment. Generally, several treatment sessions are required.

Learn more about radiation therapy and possible side effects.

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