Radiotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
Radiotherapy treats cancer by using high-energy rays that destroy the cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells.
Sometimes radiotherapy is used to treat the head and spine if leukaemia cells have been found in the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord and brain. The course of treatment is given in the hospital radiotherapy department, usually in 8–10 sessions (called fractions) over two weeks.
The treatment is given on weekdays with a rest at the weekend. Your doctor will discuss your treatment with you in detail beforehand.
A special form of radiotherapy, called total body irradiation (TBI), is sometimes used before a donor stem cell transplant. Radiotherapy is given to the whole body to get rid of leukaemia cells in the bone marrow.