You usually have radiotherapy in a hospital that has a major cancer treatment centre. This means you may have some treatment at your local hospital, such as surgery or chemotherapy. But you may have radiotherapy at a different hospital.
There are two ways of having radiotherapy:
- External beam radiotherapy is given from outside the body (externally) by a radiotherapy machine.
- Internal radiotherapyis when a radioactive material is placed inside the body. It is sometimes called brachytherapy or radioisotope therapy.
How you have 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.
Even if you know someone with the same type of cancer as you, their radiotherapy treatment may be different.
You usually have external beam radiotherapy as an outpatient. If you are unwell, or are having chemotherapy at the same time, you may need to stay in hospital. In this case, you will go to the radiotherapy department each day from the ward.
If you are having some types of internal radiotherapy, you may have to stay in hospital for a few days.
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