Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a highly effective cancer treatment with wide-ranging uses. Radiation therapy leads to cancer cure in many patients (either alone or with other treatments) and/or relieves symptoms caused by more advanced cancers. There are proven roles for nearly all cancer types.
Radiation therapy is a highly targeted treatment, aimed accurately and directly at the cancer wherever it might be in the body. This allows the cancer cells to be killed or reduced in number whilst protecting the majority of other organs and tissues in the body.
One of the reasons that radiation therapy is so cost-effective is that it is usually given as out-patient treatment- people can come in for short treatments and often continue their normal activities.
For some cancers that are too advanced to be cured, radiation therapy is very effective for pain and other problems caused by cancer, such as bleeding from the lung or bladder. For example, pain in the bones from the spread of cancer can be improved significantly or be completely removed in around 75% of patients.
New technological advances in radiation therapy have made life better for cancer patients in recent years by making treatments even quicker, more accurate and effective.