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Radiotherapy: Treatment, Side Effects & Benefits

What is radiotherapy/radiation therapy used for?

Radiotherapy (also called radiation therapy) is the use of targeted radiation, such as x-rays, to destroy cancer cells or keep them from growing.


Radiotherapy may be given externally or internally.

Types of radiotherapy

  • External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to irradiate the cancer.
  • Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive source put inside the body for a short period of time. The source is placed directly into or near the cancer.

Radiotherapy side effects

  • Fatigue
  • Skin changes in the treatment area (redness or skin peeling)
  • Swelling of the breast

“This is a photo of my third active stage of treatment – radiotherapy. My treatment plan was tailored to my specific type of breast cancer, such precision medicine wouldn’t be possible without research.”

Sarah, diagnosed 2021