Radiotherapy uses high energy X-rays and similar rays (such as electrons) to treat disease.
Some patients with haematological malignancies (usually lymphoma and myeloma) will have radiotherapy as part of their treatment. This is given from outside the body using X-rays.
Benefits of Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy works by destroying the cancer cells in the treated area. Although normal cells can also be damaged by the radiotherapy, they can usually repair themselves. Radiotherapy treatment can cure some cancers and can also reduce the chance of a cancer coming back after chemotherapy. It may be used to reduce cancer symptoms.
Radiotherapy is often given with the aim of destroying a tumour and curing the cancer.
Radiotherapy may be used on its own or may be given before or after surgery or chemotherapy. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be given at the same time.
Sometimes, when it’s not possible to cure a cancer, radiotherapy may be given to relieve symptoms – for example, to reduce pain.
Far less commonly, high doses of radiotherapy may be given to people who are having a stem cell transplant as part of their treatment. Radiation may be given to the whole body to destroy the cells of the bone marrow. Very high doses of chemotherapy are also given. Stem cells by a drip are then given into a vein, to replace the bone marrow that has been destroyed.