Radiotherapy, also called radiation therapy, is the treatment of cancer and other diseases with ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation deposits energy that injures or destroys cells in the area being treated (the 'target tissue') by damaging their genetic material, making it impossible for these cells to continue to grow. Although radiation damages both cancer cells and normal cells, the latter are able to repair themselves and function properly. Radiotherapy may be used to treat a wide range of solid tumours, such as cancers of the skin, tongue, larynx, brain, breast, colon, prostate or uterine cervix. It can also be used to treat leukaemia and lymphoma (cancers of the blood-forming cells and lymphatic system, respectively).
Radiotherapy treatment is given using powerful top of the range linear accelerators to maximize accuracy and minimize side effects. Treatment is planned and undertaken by a multidisciplinary team including Clinical oncologists, Radiotherapists, Medical Physicists, radiotherapy nurses, pharmacists and other allied health professionals (e.g. dietitians and physiotherapists).