Where will I have radiotherapy?

You will have your radiotherapy treatment in a radiotherapy department. Not all hospitals have radiotherapy departments. This is because radiotherapy machines are very complex and the treatment needs to be planned and given by specially trained staff.

Most radiotherapy departments are in larger regional and teaching hospitals. You may have some of your cancer treatment, such as surgery or chemotherapy (or both), at your local hospital. After this, you will then be referred to your nearest specialist cancer hospital for radiotherapy.

You will usually have external radiotherapy as an outpatient. But if you are unwell, or having chemotherapy at the same time, you may need to stay in hospital. In this case, you will go to the radiotherapy department each day from the ward.

If you’re having internal radiotherapy, you may have to stay in hospital for a few days.

Back to Radiotherapy explained

What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. This treatment aims to treat cancer or relieve symptoms.

Possible side effects

There are things you can do to help manage the possible side effects of radiotherapy treatment.

Making a radiotherapy mask

During radiotherapy to the head and neck a mask is used to help you keep still so that exactly the right area is treated.

Who might I meet?

You will meet many different specialists before, during and after radiotherapy treatment.

After treatment

It can take time to recover from radiotherapy. Support is there if you have any problems.