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What Happens During Radiation Therapy for CLL

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells. It is usually not part of the main treatment for people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but it may be used in certain situations. For example, it may be used as part of the treatment before a stem cell transplant. It is sometimes used to treat bone pain from damage that leukemia cells cause growing in the bone marrow. It may also be used to ease symptoms, such as pain or pressure from enlarged organs.

If you do have it, the treatments are not painful. They are much like getting an X-ray. 

For each treatment you may be in the radiation room for 20 minutes to 30 minutes, but the treatment itself could take just a few minutes. You will have the treatments either as an outpatient or as an inpatient, depending on your situation. If you're having treatment directed at just a small part of your body, you'll probably be able to do this as an outpatient. If you're preparing for a stem cell transplant, you will have the treatments as an inpatient.