What is radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is the controlled and precise use of radiation to treat cancer and some non-cancerous conditions. External Beam Radiotherapy is delivered using a machine called a Linear Accelerator (Linac).
The radiation is given through the skin to the area affected, often from multiple directions. This is completely painless and treatment takes just a few minutes.
Radiotherapy is often used in combination with surgery, chemotherapy and hormone therapy and each person’s treatment is different and planned individually.
Radiotherapy can also be given internally. This is called Brachytherapy. Here small radioactive sources are placed into tissue or a natural cavity for a period of time.
How does it work?
Radiotherapy affects all cells; however cancer cells are more sensitive to radiation than normal cells and are more easily damaged. The normal cells are able to repair and regenerate but this explains why you may have some side effects from your radiotherapy.
How many treatments will I have?
The number of treatments, sometimes called fractions, varies for each patient. Radiotherapy is usually given as an out-patient appointment and can be just a single treatment or daily treatments from Monday to Friday for several weeks.
It is very important that you keep all your appointments, however if you are unable to attend then please telephone the department so that other arrangements can be made.
Please use the links below for further information on the equipment we use, what you can expect on your journey through the department, and other common questions you may have.