Why radiotherapy is given
Many people with cancer will have radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. Radiotherapy may be given for different reasons.
This is given with the aim of destroying a tumour and curing the cancer. Curative treatment is also known as radical treatment.
Curative treatment may be given on its own, or it may be given before or after surgery or chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells.
If radiotherapy and chemotherapy are given at the same time, this treatment is known as chemoradiation.
This is given when it’s not possible to cure a cancer. Radiotherapy may be given to relieve symptoms such as pain. Lower doses of radiotherapy are given for palliative treatment than for curative treatment, and they’re usually given over a shorter period of time. Sometimes just a single dose is given.
Radiotherapy treatments are planned on an individual basis. This means that even if someone you’ve met has the same type of cancer as you, their radiotherapy treatment may be different.