Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Like surgery, radiation therapy is a local therapy meaning it affects cancer cells only in the treated area.
Radiation therapy is not usually used in the initial treatment of ovarian cancer, although it can be used to relieve pain and other problems caused by the disease.
Side effects depend mainly on the amount of radiation given and the part of the body that is treated. Radiation therapy to the abdomen and pelvis may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody stools. Also, the skin in the treated area may become red, dry, and tender. Although the side effects can be uncomfortable, providers can usually treat or control them. These side effects gradually go away after treatment ends.