External beam radiotherapy is a treatment that uses high-energy beams to destroy cancer cells. The beams are given by using equipment that is similar to a large-scale x-ray machine. A radiographer operates the machine.

This type of radiotherapy can be used to:

  • Treat and cure cancer (curative radiotherapy)
  • Control the symptoms caused by cancer (palliative radiotherapy)

Before your radiotherapy, you may be asked to remove your clothes and put on a gown. The radiographers will put you in the correct position using marks on your skin (or mask) that have been made. They will make sure that you are comfortable.

The radiographers will exit the room. They will be able to see you and may be able to talk to you through an intercom. The treatment itself lasts a few minutes and isn't painful.

It is normal to feel worried about having external beam radiotherapy. But do not be afraid to talk with the radiotherapy staff about your concerns - they are there to help.