Skip to main content

Radiotherapy uses pulses of radiation to destroy cancer cells. It works by damaging the cancer cells’ ability to grow and multiply; it attacks the DNA within the cells that control these functions. When the cancer cells die, the body naturally eliminates them49.

Radiotherapy-1 Radiotherapy Mobile 1

Unlike systemic chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells wherever they are throughout the body, radiation only kills cancer cells at which it is aimed. It does not treat any cancer cells that may have spread elsewhere49.

Radiotherapy may be offered to surgically unfit patients, unresectable lung tumor due to its size and location, or patients who declined surgery50. In some cases, this may be combined with chemotherapy. For small cell lung cancer (SCLC), radiotherapy is often used in combination with chemotherapy51.

In breast cancer, radiotherapy is usually given after surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy) to destroy any remaining cancer cells40. Radiotherapy may also be offered as a palliative option when cancer has spread to bone or brain to control symptoms such as pain or seizures52.

For more information, please click here for other lung cancer treatment types and here for other triple-negative breast cancer treatment types.