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Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs that can destroy cancer cells. These drugs often are called “anticancer” drugs. Anticancer drugs destroy cancer cells by stopping them from growing or multiplying.
Radiation therapy (sometimes called radiotherapy, x-ray therapy, or irradiation) is the treatment of disease using penetrating beams of high energy waves or streams of particles called radiation. Many years ago doctors learned how to use this energy to “see” inside the body and find disease. You’ve probably seen a chest x-ray or x-ray pictures of your teeth or your bones. At high doses (many times those used for x-ray exams) radiation is used to treat cancer and other illnesses. The radiation used for cancer treatment comes from special machines or from radioactive substances. Radiation therapy equipment aims specific amounts of the radiation at tumors or areas of the body where there is disease.
Biological therapy (sometimes called immunotherapy, biotherapy, or biological response modifier therapy) is a relatively new addition to the family of cancer treatments that also includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Biological therapies use the body’s immune system, either directly or indirectly, to fight cancer or to lessen the side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments.
Radioimmunotherapy is a new weapon in the fight against cancer. Zevalin is the first Radioimmunotherapy treatment to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the treatment of certain types of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Zevalin is different in many ways from conventional chemotherapy or external beam radiation therapy.