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Radiotherapy

High-energy, targeted radiation (usually X-rays) used to destroy cancer cells

About radiotherapy

At HCA UK we provide the most comprehensive private radiotherapy network in the UK. Working with expert clinical oncologists, our team of physicists, dosimetrists and radiotherapists will provide you with the very best care.


We have invested in a suite of technology, including CyberKnife, TrueBeam and Gamma Knife. This advanced technology, coupled with the latest treatment techniques, means higher dose beams can be targeted with pinpoint accuracy.

How does radiotherapy work?

Radiotherapy uses high energy external radiation beams to target tumour cells with the intention of controlling, reducing and, where possible, eradicating tumours. Treatment is painless and each treatment is completed in several minutes. It is usually given as a series of fractions (treatment sessions) over a number of days or weeks as an outpatient. 


Our advanced technology means we can target tumours anywhere in the body, and our equipment is particularly good at treating tumours that are in difficult positions and close or attached to other organs. There are a number of different types of radiotherapy techniques which can be used to maximise treatment effectiveness. These advancements in treatment and supporting technology means treatment is targeted with pinpoint accuracy, causing minimal damage to healthy surrounding tissue, this allows for higher dose beams to be applied usually shortening the number of treatment sessions required.


There are a number of different types of radiotherapy techniques which can be used to maximise treatment effectiveness. These advancements in treatment and supporting technology means treatment is targeted with pinpoint accuracy, causing minimal damage to healthy surrounding tissue. This allows for higher dose beams to be applied, usually shortening the number of treatment sessions required. 

 

Our radiotherapy techniques

  • Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) icon plus

    Deep Inspiration Breath Hold, also referred to as DIBH, is an effective technique which helps to limit exposure of the heart and lung to radiation, benefiting patients with cancers or tumours in areas close to or connecting to these vital organs.

    This treatment technique works by pushing the treatment area away from these organs, eliminating movement caused by breathing, so that a more targeted area can be treated and radiation can be delivered with precision. 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.

  • Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) icon plus

    Image Guided Radiotherapy, commonly referred to as IGRT, incorporates the use of imaging including x-ray and CT scans. Images are taken just before treatment, which allows us to confirm the position of the tumour and target beams appropriately.

    IGRT is useful because tumours may change in shape or size during treatment, and can change in position between treatment sessions. IGRT allows us to make adjustments for any of these changes so that treatment is delivered with pinpoint accuracy.

  • Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) icon plus

    Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy, commonly referred to as IMRT, forms the radiotherapy beams so that different parts of the treatment area can be targeted with different doses of radiotherapy.

    By varying doses to the treatment area, lower doses of radiotherapy affect healthy tissue, thus reducing the immediate and long term side effects of the treatment. By reducing damage to healthy tissue and any side effects, IMRT is particularly effective in treating tumours close to important structures or organs.

  • Prophylactic Cranial Radiotherapy (PCR) icon plus

    Prophylactic Cranial Radiotherapy, also called PCR, is given as a preventative form of radiotherapy to prevent or delay the spread of cancer to the brain (secondary brain cancer). PCR uses high-energy radiation beams aimed at the head during short daily treatments, with each treatment session lasting a few minutes.

    The number of treatment sessions required will depend on your individual condition, and your clinical oncologist will discuss this with you. Which type of radiotherapy treatment is prescribed will be determined by tumour type and positioning. Your clinical oncologist will discuss which treatment option will best suit your medical condition.

  • RapidArc or Volume Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) icon plus

    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 extremely accurate as the dose rate, leaf speed and beam are all independently controlled and VMAT/ARC treatment types are quicker to deliver than other types of radiotherapy.

  • Selective Internal Radiotherapy (SIRT) icon plus

    Selective Internal Radiotherapy Treatment (SIRT) uses small radioactive beads to treat liver tumours that cannot be surgically removed. SIRT is commonly used to treat secondary tumours (metastatic tumours) in the liver.

    SIRT delivers high-dose radiotherapy treatment to liver tumours by injecting coated beads called microspheres through a catheter. The microspheres contain a radioactive substance and stop the flow of blood to tumours, killing the cancerous cells. Your treatment might involve SIRT in combination with a short course of chemotherapy. This can help to make SIRT more effective.

    SIRT treatment will not be suitable for everyone with liver tumours. Your consultant and medical team will discuss the best treatment options available to you.

     
  • SpaceOAR Hydrogel icon plus

    SpaceOAR Hydrogel is an innovative treatment technology that can be used to reduce the side effects of radiotherapy treatment to the prostate. Because the prostate and the rectum sit closely together, the rectum can commonly receive a high dose of radiation during treatment of the prostate.

    This can cause a number of long term side effects. To reduce this, SpaceOAR Hydrogel physically pushes the rectum away from the prostate during treatment reducing the exposure of radiation to the rectum and reducing side effects.

  • Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) icon plus

    Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) treatment is used to stop cancer cells growing, reduce the size of tumours and where possible eradicate them by damaging the DNA of cancer cells. The SABR technique uses small, thin beams of radiation that targets the tumour from different angles.

    The tumour is targeted with high dose beams while low dose beams travel through healthy surrounding tissue to minimise any damage. This treatment can be given in shorter treatment courses than other techniques.

  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) icon plus

    Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) uses a number of high-dose radiation beams to precisely target tumours. Thanks to the pinpoint accuracy of the True Beam STx maximised doses of radiation can be applied to the tumour, therefore protecting surrounding healthy tissue.

    This type of treatment is often used to treat tumours of the brain or spine but can be used to treat tumours in other parts of the body. This is a non-surgical procedure that delivers higher doses of radiotherapy in a single or a short course of treatment sessions. It provides an effective alternative to invasive surgery, particularly for patients who are unable to undergo surgery due to their medical condition or the location of the tumour.

    Your clinical oncologist will discuss this with you if this is a treatment option suitable to treat your condition.

  • Total Body Irradiation (TBI) icon plus

    Total Body Irradiation, often referred to as TBI, uses large single doses or a course of 6-8 smaller doses of radiation beams to the whole body to destroy the cells of the bone marrow. This treatment is used for patients who are having a stem cell transplant.
Radiotherapy banner

Radiotherapy technology

We have invested in a suite of technology, which includes CyberKnife, TrueBeam and Gamma Knife.

This advanced technology, coupled with the latest treatment techniques, means that higher dose beams can be targeted with pinpoint accuracy.

Fertility preservation

Some cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgery, can compromise a patient’s ovarian, testicular or uterine function.


At HCA Healthcare UK, we operate the Lister Fertility Clinic, the UK’s largest fertility clinic. This service provides men and women with the opportunity to preserve their fertility, where necessary, by freezing sperm, eggs or embryos.  


If the patient’s fertility is at risk, the opportunity to preserve fertility prior to treatment can be explored.

Our Radiotherapy facilities

Consultations, diagnostics and treatment can take place at a number of locations throughout the HCA UK network in both London and Manchester. Our main facilities include:

Contact our specialist team

Any questions? We're happy to advise you or help you to book an appointment.

Call us on 020 3553 9477
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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