Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells while causing the least possible damage to normal cells. It is usually given in short, daily treatments in the radiology department using something that is like a large X-ray machine.
In advanced melanoma, radiotherapy is often used to help reduce pain and improve symptoms. In cases where the melanoma has spread to other parts of the body:
- The skin or lymph nodes that are distant from the original melanoma
Radiotherapy can help reduce the size of the melanoma and improve symptoms such as pain.
- The bones
Radiotherapy is the most common treatment method for secondary bone cancer. It helps reduce bone pain and inflammation.
- The brain
Radiotherapy may help reduce the size of the secondary cancer in the brain and cause symptoms to improve.
- Side effects
Radiotherapy can cause fatigue lasting for a number of weeks after the treatment has concluded.
Other side effects will depend on the part of the body that is treated and the amount of radiotherapy given. Usually, when radiotherapy is given to improve symptoms, the side effects are mild.