- Radiotherapy is the treatment of malignant (and some non-malignant) diseases using ionising radiation (gamma rays, X rays, etc).
- Radiotherapy is given in 2 ways: Teletherapy & Brachytherapy
- Teletherapy is administered by telecobalt unit or linear acclelerator. Here the source of radiation is placed away from the patient. Linear accelerators give superior dose distribution to cobalt units. Also, modern methods of radiotherapy, viz 3D CRT and IMRT are deliverable by these machines only.
- In brachytherapy, the source of radiation is placed within or close to the patient’s body. Brachytherapy uses radioactive isotopes such as Cesium 137 ,Cobalt 60 or Iridium 192 . HDR (High Dose Rate) brachytherapy allows precise computerised planning of the treatment and fast treatment delivery.
- Radiotherapy is given to patients in various settings-radical, adjuvant (post-operative) and palliative.
- Radical radiotherapy is a curative modality by itself in early cancers of the head and neck region as well as prostate, anal canal and uterine cervix cancers in both early and advanced stage.
- Post-operative or adjuvant radiotherapy is a must to prevent recurrence,in a number of cancers,eg breast, uterus, rectum, gall bladder, stomach, pancreas and soft tissue sarcomas.
- Palliative radiotherapy is given in some incurable diseases for symptom relief, eg for pain, bleeding ,etc.