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Radiation Therapy for Leukemia

  • Amy Scholten, MPH
Publication Type:


Radiation Therapy for Leukemia

Radiation therapy is a method used to kill cancer cells. External beam radiation comes from a machine outside of the body. Short bursts of x-rays are aimed at certain places inside the body. It may be used:

  • Before a bone marrow transplant—to kill leftover cancer in the bone marrow
  • To unclog the spleen—may be done to avoid removing the spleen
  • To treat areas like the spinal cord, brain, or testicles—to keep leukemia from spreading there
  • To ease symptoms caused by later stage leukemia


  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoblastic lymphoma (ALL/LBL) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-lymphoblastic-leukemia-lymphoblastic-lymphoma-all-lbl-in-adults.
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/leukemias/acute-lymphoblastic-leukemia-all.
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-myeloid-leukemia-aml.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/leukemias/chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia-cll.
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic leukemia (SLL). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-lymphocytic-leukemia-cll-small-lymphocytic-lymphoma-sll.
  • Chronic myeloid leukemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-myeloid-leukemia-cml.


  • Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.