Radiotherapy for primary liver cancer

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. It is planned by a cancer doctor called a clinical oncologist. The person who gives you radiotherapy is a radiographer. New advances in technology mean that radiation can be given more precisely. This means that damage to normal tissues can be avoided as much as possible.

Stereotactic radiotherapy

This is a newer type of external radiation therapy, which gives targeted treatment to the tumour.

A specially adapted radiotherapy machine delivers beams of radiotherapy from many different angles. This allows the doctor to give a high dose to the tumour, while keeping the dose to surrounding tissues low. It is used for people that cannot be treated with ablation. This might be because of other medical conditions or because the tumour is too large for ablation to work.

This treatment is only available in a few specialist centres.

Internal radiotherapy

Sometimes internal radiotherapy is used. This could be radioembolisation, which is sometimes called selective internal radiotherapy (SIRT).

Radiotherapy to treat symptoms

Radiotherapy can be used to relieve symptoms if the cancer has spread to another part of the body.

If the cancer has spread to the bones, radiotherapy can be used to help relieve pain. You may only need one treatment or a few short ones. The main side effect is tiredness. Other side effects are usually mild. Your cancer doctor, nurse or radiographer will tell you what to expect.

You have the treatment as an outpatient in the hospital radiotherapy department. The radiographer will position you on the couch and you will be left alone for a few minutes while treatment is given. You can still talk to your radiographer through an intercom.

Watch our video about external beam radiotherapy

Consultant Clinical Oncologist Vincent Khoo describes external beam radiotherapy, how it works, and what it involves.

Information about our videos

Watch our video about external beam radiotherapy

Consultant Clinical Oncologist Vincent Khoo describes external beam radiotherapy, how it works, and what it involves.

Information about our videos

Coping with fatigue

Denton describes how he coped with fatigue (tiredness) during his treatment for prostate cancer.

About our cancer information videos

Coping with fatigue

Denton describes how he coped with fatigue (tiredness) during his treatment for prostate cancer.

About our cancer information videos

Back to Treating

Making treatment decisions

Your doctors may tell you there are different options for your treatment. Having the right information will help you make the right decision for you.

Surgery

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

Tumour ablation

Tumour ablation is when the tumour is destroyed by applying heat or alcohol directly to it.

Embolisation treatments

Embolisation is when substances are injected into blood vessels to block the blood flow to the cancer cells.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat many different types of 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.

Life after cancer treatment

You might be thinking about how to get back to normal following treatment. Find advice, information and support about coping with and after cancer.