Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. It may relieve symptoms caused by kidney cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

About radiotherapy for kidney cancer

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Kidney cancer does not respond to radiotherapy very well. But it can be effective when used to relieve symptoms, such as bleeding. It may also be used if the kidney cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain or the bones. This is called palliative radiotherapy.

We have more information on secondary bone cancer and secondary brain cancer.

Having radiotherapy for kidney cancer

The treatment is given in the hospital radiotherapy department. You usually have it as an outpatient. Radiotherapy is often given as sessions called fractions. If radiotherapy is given to relieve symptoms, it is usually given for a few minutes a day for a few days. Sometimes only one fraction is needed. Your doctor will discuss the treatment plan with you.

Side effects of radiotherapy for kidney cancer

Radiotherapy can cause tiredness. Other side effects depend on the part of the body being treated. When radiotherapy is given to relieve symptoms, the side effects are usually mild. The doctor who plans your radiotherapy (clinical oncologist) or a specialist nurse will tell you what to expect. Usually side effects go away slowly when your course of treatment has finished. You should let your doctor know if they continue.

We have more information about radiotherapy.