Radiotherapy is used to treat various cancers as well as benign tumours. During treatment a machine called a linear accelerator directs high-energy x-rays or electrons at cancer cells aiming to eradicate them. It can also be administered internally, whereby you drink or inject a liquid that is absorbed by the cancerous cells.
Your treatment plan may require you to have radiotherapy in combination with chemotherapy. This is known as chemoradiotherapy.
If you need radiotherapy you will usually receive it as an outpatient. Our radiotherapy centre is equipped with the very latest linear accelerator technology. This offers you access to the most advanced radiotherapy techniques, including the following:
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This is a high-precision method that allows us to adapt the amount of radiation to awkward shapes, such as tumours that are wrapped around vital organs.
- Volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT). VMAT systems use single or multiple radiation beams that sweep in uninterrupted arcs around the patient, dramatically speeding up treatment delivery and minimising the risk to neighbouring healthy cells.
- Cone-beam computed tomography. This 3D-imaging technique allows doctors to accurately visualise the cancer site, which means that they can deliver targeted treatment exactly where its needed without exposing healthy cells to higher doses of radiation.
- Total body irradiation (TBI). This method is used during a bone marrow transplant and kills off all of the patient’s bone marrow in preparation for the transplant. It is highly effective at killing diseased cells anywhere in the body.
- Selective internal radiotherapy treatment (SIRT). SIRT delivers high-dose radiotherapy to liver tumours by injecting coated beads called microspheres through a catheter. The microspheres contain a radioactive substance and stop the flow of blood to tumours, killing the cancerous cells. Your treatment might involve SIRT in combination with a short course of chemotherapy. This can help to make SIRT more effective and to protect the rest of the system from cancer.