Cancer Treatment UK

What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy is a painless procedure which uses radiation, usually high energy x-rays, but sometimes, electrons, and more rarely protons, to treat disease. It can cure many cancers by destroying the tumour or stopping it from growing any further.

It is often used before surgery to reduce the size of a tumour prior to removal, or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that may be left behind. In some cases the cancer cannot be cured, but radiotherapy can be used to slow its growth and to manage and reduce cancer symptoms.

The radiotherapy treatment which is given to destroy and potentially cure a cancer is called radical or curative radiotherapy. Some benign (non-cancerous) conditions can also be treated using radiotherapy.

Radiotherapy works by damaging the DNA within cancer cells causing them to stop growing or die. Normal cells are also affected by radiation, but they are better at repairing themselves than cancerous cells.

Cancer Partners UK uses advanced forms of radiotherapy which use sophisticated technology to more accurately target treatment. This level of precision reduces the amount of normal cells being affected, while maintaining a maximum dose to the treatment area.

What to expect

For more information on what to expect when receiving radiotherapy treatment, including available support and details such as the length and complexity of the treatment, follow the link below.

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Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) is a specialised way of delivering radiotherapy and it is used to treat many different types of cancer.

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Image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) is a technique which involves collecting images to verify a tumour’s position before external beam radiotherapy.

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DIBH (deep inspiration breath-hold) technology is an effective method of limiting radiation exposure to the heart and lungs.

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Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT) is a type of IMRT. It is sometimes called RapidArc©, depending on the manufacturer of the equipment.

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Side effects

Side effects of radiotherapy vary from person to person. Some people may have a number of side effects while others have very few or none at all.

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Patient literature

Find out more about
Cancer Partners UK's
clinical excellence and innovation.

External beam radiotherapy

We use external beam radiotherapy to target tumours from outside of the body using the very latest in linear accelerator (linac) technology.

Care plan

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, your medical team will meet with you to discuss your treatment.

CT dosimetry

Once it has been decided that a patient requires radiotherapy, it is important that a plan is created which delivers the right dose directly to the tumour.