You may be offered chemotherapy together with radiotherapy (chemoradiation). The chemotherapy drugs can make the cancer cells more sensitive to radiotherapy. The combination of treatments may be more effective than having either chemotherapy or radiotherapy alone.

The chemotherapy drug most commonly used is cisplatin. It is usually given once a week throughout your radiotherapy.

Giving chemotherapy and radiotherapy together can make the side effects of the treatment worse. Your doctor, radiographer or specialist nurse can give you more information about chemoradiation and the possible side effects of this treatment.

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Surgery involves removing all or part of the cancer with an operation. It is an important treatment for many cancers.


Radiotherapy is the use of high-energy rays, usually x-rays and similar rays (such as electrons) to treat cancer.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat cancer. It is most commonly given as an injection into a vein or as tablets or capsules.

Clinical trials

Many people are offered a trial as part of treatment. Find out more to help you decide if a trial is right for you.