Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be used before surgery to shrink the size of a tumor, making surgery easier and more effective, or it may be used after surgery to try to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Radiation therapy can also be used to treat body parts that the tumor has spread to (metastasis). It is not often used as the main treatment for adrenocortical cancer because it tends to be resistant to radiation.
When the radiation comes from a machine outside the body, it is called external beam radiation and the radiation is focused on the cancer from outside the body. This kills the cancer cells that are present, or the ones that are missed during surgery. Radiation may be used after surgery to keep the tumor from coming back. In adrenal cancer, radiation is mostly used for palliation, which is for control of symptoms, such as bone pain.