Comprehensive radiotherapy treatment at HCA healthcare UK

You can be assured that at HCA UK our experts provide the full breadth of treatment options, including access to the latest technology and treatment techniques to deliver precision radiotherapy.

We offer multiple types of radiotherapy treatments and techniques, from the routine to the most complex.

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Truebeam Radiotherapy

What is radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, uses carefully planned doses of radiation to treat cancer. 

Radiotherapy can be delivered externally or internally, depending on the type and location of cancer you have. It can also be used alone or in combination with other treatments. 

The type of radiotherapy most people have uses beams of high energy x-rays to target and destroy cancer cells, known as external beam radiotherapy. The radiotherapy machine delivers specific amounts of radiation to the area of the body it is aimed at.

Radiotherapy is a common treatment for many types of cancer including breast, cervical, head and neck, anal and prostate cancers, amongst others.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, we are committed to providing you with the latest cancer treatments and the highest standard of care. At HCA UK our radiotherapy service combines the experience and expertise of our specialist clinical team, with the latest advancements in radiotherapy technologies and treatment techniques, allowing us to deliver precise, personalised and targeted radiotherapy treatment. 

Oncology patient speaking with nurse

The treatment that's right for you

If you have been diagnosed with cancer your clinical team may recommend radiotherapy as part of your personalised treatment and care plan. The type of radiotherapy recommended to you will depend on your individual diagnosis, including the type and stage of cancer you have been diagnosed with. 

Radiotherapy may be the only treatment recommended by your clinical team, or it may form part of your wider treatment plan. It is often used in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgery. Our clinical oncologists, surgeons, and other cancer experts work together in multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) to ensure your individual treatment plan provides you with the best possible treatment recommendations based on your individual diagnosis. 

Your consultant will explain the reasons of this recommendation to you and along with your dedicated Clinical Nurse Specialist, they can answer any questions you may have so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment and care.

We are committed to providing you with the latest cancer treatments and the highest standard of care. At HCA UK our radiotherapy service combines the experience and expertise of our specialist clinical team, with the latest advancements in radiotherapy technologies and treatment techniques, allowing us to deliver precise and targeted radiotherapy treatment. 

The different types of radiotherapy we offer

At HCA UK you will have access to a comprehensive range of radiotherapy treatment options tailored to meet your unique needs. Our state-of-the-art facilities are equipped with the latest technology, enabling our experts to deliver the most effective and precise treatments available.

Some of the radiotherapy treatments and techniques we offer include:

All external beam radiotherapy at HCA UK is delivered using image guided technology.

Tumours may change in shape or size during treatment, and can change in position between treatment sessions. External beam radiotherapy, using image guided technology, allows us to make adjustments for any of these changes so that treatment is consistently delivered with pinpoint accuracy.

Delivered using a machine called a linear accelerator (link), IMRT enables radiotherapy to be tailored to the size and shape of the tumour, in addition to being able to adjust the intensity of the radiation beams to different parts of the tumour, based on the amount of treatment they need. IMRT is very precise technique which is beneficial for tumours which have an irregular shape and/or are very close to a sensitive organ, as the dose can be given in a way that accurately follows the exact shape of the tumour, avoiding any sensitive tissues or organs.

Volume Modulated Arc Therapy, commonly referred to as VMAT or RapidArc, uses 3D volume imaging techniques to maximise the dose of radiation targeted at the tumour and minimise any damage to healthy surrounding tissue.

VMAT is delivered using a linear accelerator <link> to deliver radiation from various angles in a continuous arc, while also adjusting the intensity and shape of the radiation beam as it rotates. This level of control allows for highly tailored dose distributions, matching the shape of the tumour.

This precise targeting can allow for higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the tumour, which can improve treatment outcomes and reduce the amount of treatment sessions needed.

Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR), also known as Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT), is a very precise type of radiotherapy which is often used on small, well-defined tumours.

The aim of SABR is to deliver very high doses of radiation with maximum precision, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue. Unlike other radiotherapy techniques, that are delivered over several weeks, SABR administers just a few high-dose treatments over a shorter period of time.

All elements of SABR planning and treatment are delivered using maximum precision, enabling high doses to be delivered safely and effectively.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is a precise and high-dose form of radiotherapy used to treat small, well-defined tumours. Unlike other radiotherapy techniques, that are delivered over several weeks, SRS administers just a few high-dose treatments, which reduces the number of hospital visits required.

Surface Guided Radiotherapy (SGRT) is a technique which uses sophisticated camera technology to create a 3-dimensional map of the body to help monitor body position and movement during treatment.

This real-time feedback from SGRT allows for monitoring and any necessary adjustment from natural body movements, such as breathing. This approach ensures that the radiation beams are consistently targeted to the tumour, ensuring the treatment area receives the maximum dose of radiotherapy, whilst minimising exposure to surrounding healthy tissues and reducing the risk of side-effects.

Molecular radiotherapy (MRT), also referred to as radionuclide or radioisotope therapy, is a type of treatment which uses radioactive substances to target and destroy cancer cells using targeting molecules.

MRT uses molecules that naturally seek out cancer cells, which are attached to radioactive materials. Once inside the body, the targeting molecules seek out and attach to specific types of cancer cells, delivering radiation directly to the tumour. MRT can be given intravenously, injected directly into the tumour site, or taken orally (in tablet form), depending on the type of cancer and the type of molecule used.

MRT is particularly effective against cancers that have spread (metastasised) or are resistant to conventional treatments. Because MRT targets cancer cells specifically, this causes less damage to healthy cells, which means fewer side effects.

Molecular radiotherapy is used to treat various cancers and related conditions including thyroid cancer, neuroendocrine tumours, prostate cancer (using Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen – PSMA), and overactive thyroids.

SIRT is a type of internal radiotherapy used to treat primary liver cancer (tumours that started in the liver) and secondary liver cancer (tumours that have spread to the liver from another part of the body).

During SIRT, tiny radioactive beads, called microspheres, are injected into the blood vessels that supply the liver tumour. Once in place, these microspheres release radiation, which damages the tumour cells from the inside. As the radiation only travels a few millimetres from where the beads are trapped, it causes little damage to the surrounding healthy cells. This type of radiation therapy is also referred to as interventional radiology.


Brachytherapy is different to other radiotherapy treatments. Instead of the radiation source being outside the body (external beam radiation), radiation is placed directly inside or near the tumour. This means that a concentrated dose of radiation can be delivered to the tumour whilst minimising exposure to the surrounding, healthy tissues.

How this treatment is given depends on the type of cancer being treated. Brachytherapy can be used alone or in combination with external radiation treatments.

Reducing side effects with precision radiotherapy

Although our innovative radiotherapy systems allow us to deliver high precision radiotherapy, when targeting certain tumours, such as prostate tumours, or tumours that are close to the heart, lungs, or other vital organs, there is a risk that radiotherapy can cause damage to healthy tissue because of the anatomical closeness. This can cause unwanted side effects.

To ensure that we can target the whole tumour effectively, whilst sparing healthy tissues, we use the following techniques to help reduce treatment related side effects:

SpaceOAR Hydrogel: Because the prostate and the rectum sit closely together, the rectum can commonly receive a high dose of radiation during radiotherapy treatment of the prostate, causing potential side effects such as bowel irritation, incontinence, and discomfort.

SPACE OAR is a cutting-edge technique used in radiotherapy for prostate cancer treatment. It involves the placement of a hydrogel spacer between the prostate and the rectum. This spacer acts as a cushion, creating physical space and protecting the rectum from radiation during prostate cancer treatment.

Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH): Deep Inspiration Breath Hold, also referred to as DIBH, is an effective technique which helps minimise radiation exposure to healthy tissues and vital organs, particularly the heart and lungs, while effectively targeting the tumour. 

Before treatment, CT imaging will precisely map out the target area and nearby organs at risk, such as the heart and lungs. This imaging helps in planning the radiation treatment.

During treatment, the patient will be asked to take a deep breath and hold it. This pushes the chest wall and internal organs away from the treatment area. The radiation can then be precisely targeted to the tumour while minimising exposure to surrounding healthy tissues, the heart and lungs. 

DIBH allows the patient to maintain control of their breathing; treatment can be paused if a patient is unable to hold their breath for any reason and will restart once the patient is ready to resume.

DIBH is tailored to the individual patient and your lung capacity and regular breathing will be measured beforehand to a comfortable breath hold capacity.


Commited to quality and innovation

New technologies and treatment techniques mean that radiotherapy is an ever-advancing area of cancer treatment. At HCA UK we have invested in a suite of technology, which includes TrueBeam, Gamma Knife and  Linear accelerators.

Access to advanced technology, coupled with the latest treatment techniques, means our experts can target tumours with more accuracy than ever before.

Being able to treat tumours with greater accuracy means we can give higher doses of radiotherapy; this can make treatment more effective, lessen any damage to healthy tissue, reduce side effects and decrease the amount of treatment sessions required, which can mean less time spent in hospital for you. 

We are committed to adopting the latest and most effective radiotherapy treatment options to ensure our patients have access to these innovations at the earliest opportunity, and the benefits they bring. 

Expert radiotherapy at HCA Healthcare UK

When you choose HCA UK for your radiotherapy you will benefit from:

Expertise: Our radiotherapy service combines the experience and expertise of our team of clinical oncologists, medical physicists, dosimetrists and therapeutic radiographers, with the latest advancements in radiotherapy technology and treatment techniques, so you can be assured of the very best care.

Innovation: We are committed to continuous innovation. We adopt the latest and most effective treatment techniques and invest in the most advanced technology to ensure our patients have access to innovative radiotherapy treatments at the earliest opportunity.

State-of-the-art facilities: Our hospitals are equipped with the latest technology and equipment, allowing us to deliver precise and targeted radiotherapy treatments with minimal side effects.

CQC ratings: All our hospitals have been rated Good or Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.