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Oncology (Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy)

Chemotherapy is treatment with drugs (cytotoxic drugs) which destroy cancer cells.  Other drugs may be prescribed by your oncologist that work slightly differently to chemotherapy e.g.: Hormones or immunotherapy.

These drugs are given by injection, drip or tablets. Sometimes this involves a hospital stay but most chemotherapy is given to you as an outpatient, either in clinic or the treatment suite. How often you have treatment will depend on the drugs that are recommended by your specialist doctor.

(Source: Macmillan cancer support)

To learn more about chemotherapy click here

What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays, such as x-rays to destroy cancer cells, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells. It can help to shrink and control the cancer, and relieve symptoms. Radiotherapy can be given with curative or palliative intent.

Ways of giving radiotherapy

There are two ways of giving radiotherapy:

External beam radiotherapy is given from outside the body (externally) by a radiotherapy machine.

Internal radiotherapy is when a radioactive material is placed inside the body. It is sometimes called brachytherapy or radioisotope therapy.

How you are given radiotherapy will depend on the type of cancer you have and where it is in the body. Some cancers are treated with both external and internal radiotherapy. Radiotherapy treatment is planned carefully for each person. This means that even if you know someone with the same type of cancer as you, their radiotherapy treatment may be different.

(Source: Macmillan cancer support)

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