What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy is a type of treatment used to target benign (non cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) tumours.

Radiotherapy uses high energy external radiation beams to target tumour cells with the intention of controlling, reducing and, where possible, eradicating tumours. Treatment is painless and each treatment is completed in several minutes. It is usually given as a series of fractions (treatment sessions) over a number of days or weeks as an outpatient.

There are a number of different types of radiotherapy techniques which can be used to maximise treatment effectiveness. Your clinical oncologist will discuss the different treatment options available to you and advise on the most appropriate course for your condition.

External radiotherapy treatment will not make you radioactive; it is safe for you to continue to mix with other people throughout your course of treatment.


Is radiotherapy treatment suitable for me?+

Radiotherapy is a highly effective treatment option for patients with tumours. However some types of tumours or cancers may not be as responsive to radiotherapy treatment as others, therefore radiotherapy may not be considered as a first line treatment.

Your oncologist will discuss if radiotherapy treatment is suitable for you. Because different tumours require different types of treatment combinations at different stages, each treatment plan is individually tailored to your medical needs.

Are there any side effects?+

The side effects from radiotherapy will vary depending on the type of treatment used, the location of the tumour and how you react to the treatment. Each person is an individual and reactions can vary from patient to patient. Some patients may experience a number of side effects while others may only have a few.

At The London Radiotherapy Centre we use the latest treatment techniques together with some of the most advanced technology. This combination of care means we are able to reduce the number of side effects as much as possible. Each tumour type or cancer will respond differently to treatment and may cause different effects depending on what other treatment you are receiving. Your clinical oncologist and radiologist can talk you through any potential side effects so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment.

I am having my cancer treatment at a different facility; can I still come to The London Radiotherapy Centre for my radiotherapy treatment?+

If you require radiotherapy as part of your treatment plan you can ask your oncologist to refer you to a clinical oncologist at The London Radiotherapy Centre for your treatment.

Our clinical oncologists can provide a second opinion on the use of radiotherapy as part of your treatment plan.

Harley Street at University College Hospital and London Bridge Hospital are part of our network of cancer treatment facilities. If you are receiving your treatment at one of these facilities you will have direct access to treatment at The London Radiotherapy Centre.