Radiation and chemotherapy at the same time

Richard Whittington, MD
Last Modified: June 30, 2002


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
Why do I need to have radiation and chemotherapy at the same time? 


Richard Whittington, MD, Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:

Chemotherapy blocks many of the repair activities of tumor cells without having the same effect on normal cells. This increases the sensitivity of tumor cells to the effects of radiation. There have been numerous clinical studies that show patients do much better when chemotherapy and radiation therapy are given concurrently.