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External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT)

External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) uses highly sophisticated systems to irradiate tumors from outside the body. It is a powerful weapon against many different types of cancer. In some cases EBRT is applied as a standalone therapy. In others, it is recommended either before or after surgery.

How It Works

EBRT begins with a process called simulation to determine the best treatment plan for the particular form of cancer and the stage of your tumor. Your  team will use imaging, typically from computed tomography (CT) scans, to get a detailed view of your internal organs and tumor. They may also use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), position emission tomography (PET) scans or ultrasound scans. A sophisticated computer then calculates the angle of the radiation beams targeting the tumor and the optimal radiation dose for your individual treatment plan.

Treatment Process

During each EBRT session you will lie on the treatment table and your radiation therapist will use sophisticated imaging to confirm your position. The radiation delivery system then aims radiation beams at the tumor. Sessions last only a few minutes, require no sedation and are pain-free. The number of sessions you will need depends on the specific EBRT treatment option, the size of the tumor, its location and stage. The machine that is used is called a linear accelerator. This machine produces radiation to treat you. When the machine is off there is no radiation present in the room.  Also, when you leave the room there is no radiation present in your body.


  • Less intrusive and stressful than surgery with no risk of infection
  • Suitable for patients of any age

Types of Cancer Treated with EBRT

Currently, EBRT is being used at the Cancer Center to treat:

  • Brain
  • Head and Neck
  • Thorax
  • Pelvis
  • Extremity

The Cancer Center operates in partnership with Upstate Cancer Center.