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Radiotherapy is used to treat and cure cancer, often referred to as curative radiotherapy. In other cases it is used to control symptoms caused by the cancer, known as palliative radiotherapy. 

There are a number of treatment types and delivery methods. Treatment can be delivered via external beams from an x-ray like machine (external radiotherapy) or via devices or implants placed inside the patient (internal radiotherapy or brachytherapy).


  • External Beam Radiotherapy

External beam radiotherapy treatment uses high energy beams to destroy cancer cells. A machine, similar to a large x-ray machine, called a Linear Accelerator is used to deliver the treatment. Three-dimensional (3D) conformal radiation therapy is a technique where the beams of radiation used in treatment are shaped to match the tumor. Such advances in imaging technology have made it possible to locate and treat the tumor more precisely.

  • IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy)

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) shapes the radiotherapy beams to the exact size and shape of the area being treated.Not only does it match the shape of the area being treated but it also matches the dose to the area being treated. Advanced technology also allows different doses of radiotherapy to be given to different parts of the treatment area. This is very useful in ensuring that the affected area receives the optimum dose required while sparing the healthy surrounding tissue and reducing the risk of injury to nearby organs.


  • IGRT (Image Guided Radiotherapy Therapy)

Image Guided Radiotherapy Therapy (IGRT) is technological advancement in external beam radiotherapy. Prior to the planning scan, tiny gold markers are implanted into the prostate. The radiation therapists image these markers prior to each treatment and so the treatment beam is accurately aligned to the exact treatment area.


  • Brachytherapy Consultation

Radiation can be given internally or externally. When radiotherapy is given internally, it is called brachytherapy. Treatment may be in the form of an implant (eg radioactive seed implantation for prostate cancer) or using a source (eg catheter) which is placed in or near the tumour itself. Brachytherapy is localised, precise and a high-tech treatment delivered. A number of brachytherapy treatments are carried out in the radiotherapy department in Dublin and our Consultants can discuss the treatment options with you locally.


  • SGRT (Surface Guided Radiation Therapy)

Surface Guided Radiation Therapy (SGRT) is a radiotherapy technique designed to improve the accuracy of patient treatment. During the treatment, a camera shines a red speckled pattern on the body surface of the patient to monitor exact positions for precisely targeted radiation. This process ensures that the treatment area receives the maximum dose of radiation therapy while the surrounding, healthy tissue receives a much lower dose.
The SGRT system will allow for a reduction in the number of tattoos given to patients as the exact planned positions can be reproduced by the SGRT cameras. This system allows for real-time monitoring of patient position so, if the patient moves during treatment, the radiation can be automatically paused until they are back in the planned position.


  • Xofigo (Ra223 Dichloride) Radionuclide Therapy

Ra223 (Xofigo) is used in the management of locally advanced prostate cancer. Xofigo has been shown to extend overall survival and quality of life while also extending the time to the first adverse event resulting from the bone disease. Xofigo comes in the form of a ready to use liquid which is administered to the patient through an intravenous injection every four weeks for a total of six injections. Radium-223 has similar characteristics to Calcium and as a result is rapidly taken up in areas of bone growth (i.e. cancer cell growth). As an Alpha-emitter, the therapeutic action of a Xofigo treatment is extremely localised spreading only a few cell diameters within the cancer cells in the bones. This results in the treatment being highly targeted at the cancer cells whilst minimising damage to healthy surrounding tissue


Xofigo: Guidelines for Professionals