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Why have radiotherapy?

Many people diagnosed with cancer will have radiotherapy as part of their cancer treatment. Research shows that at least one in two people recently diagnosed with cancer would benefit from radiotherapy. It can be used for several reasons:

  • Cure—radiotherapy is given with the aim of curing the cancer on its own or combined with other treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy.
  • Control—radiotherapy may be used to control the cancer by making it smaller or stopping it from spreading.
  • Help other treatments—radiotherapy is used before (neoadjuvant) or after (adjuvant) other treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. The aim is to make the main treatment more effective.
  • Symptom relief—radiotherapy is often able to relieve cancer symptoms such as pain or bleeding, to help you to feel as well as possible.