What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy uses carefully calculated and measured doses of radiation to treat cancer, as well as some non-malignant conditions.

The treatment is painless and only takes a few minutes.

External beam radiotherapy delivers radiation from outside the body.

Brachytherapy delivers radiation to body cavities or tissues internally using a specialist machine.

Radiotherapy can be used alone or with surgery, chemotherapy, or both.

It’s used to:

  • Attempt to cure cancer (radical radiotherapy)
  • Control/slow down the growth of cancer
  • Relieve cancer symptoms (palliative radiotherapy)

Your doctor will explain why radiotherapy has been recommended for you, and what you can expect.

How does radiotherapy work?

Radiotherapy affects all cells in the area being treated – preventing them from growing and dividing. The aim is to destroy as many abnormal (cancer) cells as possible. Some normal cells will be affected but they can usually repair the damage.