Radiation Therapy | Diagnostic and Medical Imaging

Radiation Therapy

Our radiation oncology team offers tailored care to relieve your symptoms and get rid of your cancer.

Medically reviewed by Elizabeth Morris, M.D. on Oct. 05, 2023.

A female doctor smiling down at a patient before radiation

Nationally Recognized Radiation Oncology Experts

Radiation therapy destroys cancer cells with high doses of radiation. Radiation oncologists focus the radiation on your tumor (not your whole body).

Our nationally recognized Department of Radiation Oncology is part of the renowned UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our team of experts provides advanced radiation therapy in a caring environment.

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Types of Radiation Therapy

The radiation oncology providers at UC Davis Health lead the field with advanced technology and therapy options. We offer you the best options available to treat cancer.

Elekta Versa Blue and Versa Gold linear accelerators

We offer radiation treatments using Elekta Versa Blue and Versa Gold linear accelerators. This technology allows us to target tumors quickly and precisely. It is ideal for treating a hard-to-reach mass, tumors that tend to move or sit next to vital organs.

High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy

With brachytherapy, we place a radioactive source inside your body next to your tumor. This delivers treatment directly to the tumor and avoids exposing the rest of your body. Brachytherapy treats breast, gynecological and prostate cancers.

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

This therapy treats brain, head and neck tumors. We use a robotic radiosurgical system to target radiation to your tumor precisely. This treatment is noninvasive (requires no surgical incisions) and takes less time than traditional radiation therapy.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

IMRT delivers precise high-dose radiation to your tumor and a lower dose to the healthy tissue around your tumor. Computer software fits the radiation to the shape of your tumor. IMRT treats brain, breast, head, neck, prostate and other cancers.

Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT)

IGRT uses X-ray technology to locate your tumor and focus radiation directly on the cancerous cells. The defined target allows us to minimize the effect of radiation on your healthy tissue.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

SBRT treats cancer in your lungs, liver and spine, where there tends to be more natural motion. SBRT uses imaging to detect and predict the movement of your tumor. It safely guides the radiation to the tumor.

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To refer a patient, you can submit an electronic referral form or call.



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Preparing for Radiation Therapy

Your radiation treatment plan will depend on your type of cancer. You may have multiple sessions each week for several months. Your radiation oncologist will discuss the details of your plan and how to prepare for therapy before your first session.

  • A female patient smiling at a male doctor before receiving radiation

    Before Radiation Therapy

    You will have a simulation and planning session before you begin radiation treatments. This is like a “dress rehearsal” where we use imaging technology to locate your tumor, but you will not receive radiation. After this session, we will develop your treatment plan.

  • Patient receiving radiation therapy treatment for cancer

    During Radiation Therapy

    What happens during your treatment depends on the type of therapy you receive. External beam radiation takes about 15 minutes and is painless. For brachytherapy, you may need anesthesia while we insert the radioactive source. You will not feel pain during the procedure.

  • Woman hugging another woman going through cancer treatment, both are smiling

    After Radiation Therapy

    You will go home after your treatment if you have external radiation. You will not expose anyone in your household to radiation. If you have brachytherapy, you may go home after treatment or stay in the hospital for a few days. You will need to take precautions to avoid exposing others to radiation after brachytherapy.

Home Care After Radiation Therapy

You may experience some side effects after a radiation therapy session. Take care of yourself and follow your provider’s instructions.

Get Some Rest

Fatigue is a common symptom during radiation oncology. Get plenty of rest.


You may feel nauseous or have diarrhea during radiation therapy. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Protect Your Skin

Your skin will be more sensitive to the sun if you have external radiation. Wear sun-protective clothing.

Awards and Recognitions
USNWR Best Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best hospital in cancer, cardiology, heart & vascular surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, ENT, geriatrics, neurology & neurosurgery, obstetrics & gynecology, and pulmonology & lung surgery.

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US News & World Report best Children’s Hospital badge

Ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals

A U.S. News & World Report best children’s hospital in diabetes & endocrinology, nephrology, and orthopedics*. (*Together with Shriners Children’s)

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USNWR best regional hospital badge

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital

Ranked Sacramento’s #1 hospital by U.S. News, and high-performing in COPD, colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, hip fracture, hip replacement, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma, lung cancer surgery, ovarian cancer surgery, pneumonia, prostate cancer surgery, stroke, TAVR, uterine cancer surgery, gastroenterology & GI surgery, and orthopedics.

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The nation’s highest nursing honor

UC Davis Medical Center has received Magnet® recognition, the nation’s highest honor for nursing excellence.

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“Most Wired” for acute care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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Chime ambulatory badge

“Most Wired” for ambulatory care

UC Davis Health has been recognized as a level 10 out of 10 in the Digital Health “Most Wired” program from the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The honor recognizes excellence in using technology to improve the delivery of care.

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World-class cancer care

One of ~56 U.S. cancer centers designated “comprehensive” by the National Cancer Institute.

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A leader in health care equality

For the 13th consecutive year, UC Davis Medical Center has been recognized as an LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leader by the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization.

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