Radiotherapy is a treatment where radiation is used to kill cancer cells.
Radiotherapy may be used in the early stages of cancer or after it has started to spread. It can be used to:
Radiotherapy is generally considered the most effective cancer treatment after surgery, but how well it works varies from person to person.
Radiotherapy can be given in several ways. Your doctors will recommend the best type for you. The most common types are:
Radiotherapy is usually given in hospital. You can usually go home soon after external radiotherapy, but
you may need to stay in hospital for a few days if you have implants or radioisotope therapy.
Most people have several treatment sessions, which are typically spread over the course of a few weeks.
Read more about what happens during radiotherapy.
Radiotherapy has some side effects. As well as killing cancer cells, radiotherapy can damage some healthy
cells in the area being treated.
This can cause some side effects, such as:
Many of these side effects can be treated or prevented and most will pass after treatment stops.
External radiotherapy does not make you radioactive, as the radiation passes through your body.
The radiation from implants or injections can stay in your body for a few days, so you may need to stay in hospital and avoid close contact with other people for a few days as a precaution.
Read more about the side effects of radiotherapy.