Medical Awareness >>   Radiotherapy



Radiotherapy is a treatment where radiation or high beam energy is used to kill cancer cells. Radiotherapy may be utilised in the early cancer stages or after cancer has started to grow. It can be used to:

  • Cure cancer completely 
  • Increase the effectiveness of other ongoing treatments
  • Reduce the chance of cancer returning following surgery
  • Alleviate symptoms if a cure is not likely

Radiotherapy is regarded as the second most predominant cancer treatment after surgery, but its effectiveness differs from person to person.


Radiotherapy can be administered in several ways, of which the most common types are:

  • External radiotherapy - a device is used to precisely point beams of radiation at cancer.
  • Radiotherapy implants (brachytherapy) - tiny bits of radioactive metal are installed inside the body near cancer.
  • Radiotherapy tablets or liquids, where one consumes a radioactive fluid, pill or injections to have it injected into the blood
  • Intrabeam radiotherapy - radiation is pitched straight at the tumour during breast cancer surgery.

Numerous treatment sessions typically spread over a few weeks might be required.

Side Effects

Radiotherapy can kill cancers, and it can also destroy some healthy cells around the treatment area, causing consequences, such as:

  • sore skin or red skin
  • tiredness
  • hair loss in the treatment areas
  • sickness feeling
  • loss of appetite
  • sore mouth
  • diarrhoea

Many of these side effects can be treated or prevented, and most will diminish after the treatment ends.

Fact Sheet

Facts: The majority of people with cancer receive radiation therapy in their cancer treatment. Healthcare providers almost always use radiation therapy to treat every type of cancer, and radiation therapy is also useful in treating some noncancerous tumours.