Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy, also referred to as Radiation Therapy, is a treatment used for different illnesses such as cancer. During this treatment high doses of radiation, for example in the form of x-rays, are used to kill abnormal cells to cure or relieve symptoms of a disease. Radiotherapy can be administered from inside the body, also known as internal radiotherapy or external radiotherapy which is administered from outside the body. The latter is the most common radiotherapy treatment where a machine directs high-energy radiation to the site of the cancerous cells or tumour and a small area around it. 

The ionising rays help destroy the DNA of cancer cells but they can also affect normal cells around the area. Internal radiotherapy can also be administered as a course of treatment for cancer. For example, brachytherapy is a treatment where solid radioactive sources are positioned inside the body through a cavity or administered with needles inside the tumour. Other types of internal radiotherapy include liquid sources of radiation that can be taken orally or administered via injection. 

Radiation therapy is usually part of a plan set out by the multidisciplinary team to treat the patient, which involves oncologists, radiotherapists and other healthcare professionals. The Radiotherapy treatment is administered by a dosimetrist who uses medical imaging and different tests to determine the dose and distribution of radiation. The treatment will depend on each patient and can require several treatments over time. Radiation therapy can have certain side effects such as tiredness, nausea or sore skin but these usually improve sometime after treatment.

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