Quality of Life - Radiation Therapy

The Role of Medical Technology in Quality of Life - Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is transforming the ways in which people with cancer are treated, improving outcomes and preserving quality of life.

Radiotherapy is a cornerstone of cancer care: 50 to 60 percent of all people with cancer will need radiotherapy at some point during their treatment.1  

Radiotherapy is important for managing most cancers, such as breast, lung, prostate, head and neck, and cervical cancers. These account for more than two-fifths of cases worldwide.2  

Four in ten patients whose cancer is in remission receive radiotherapy as part of their treatment.3 


  • Can be delivered with great precision — Recent advances have allowed radiotherapy to be delivered safely and effectively with greater precision, reducing side effects while minimizing the time patients spend undergoing treatment.4
  • Comes in many forms — Doctors choose the type that will be most effective for each individual patient.
  • Is usually performed as an outpatient procedure — As a result, radiotherapy is more convenient for patients than those that require hospitalization.
  • Is generally well-tolerated by patients — Radiotherapy does not produce the same level of side effects as chemotherapy. Patients can sometimes experience transient fatigue, but most side effects of radiotherapy, are limited to the area being treated.5
  • Reduces suffering — When it is not possible to cure the cancer, doctors may recommend radiotherapy to provide much-needed relief from cancer symptoms.6 For example, radiotherapy can shrink a tumor that is causing discomfort by pressing on the spine.7

[1] Atun R, et al. Expanding global access to radiotherapy. Lancet Oncol. 2015 Sep;16(10):1153-86. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(15)00222-3/fulltext.
[2] Ibid
[3] Radiotherapy Services in England 2012, Department of Health, accessed November 3, 2015 at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/radiotherapy-services-in-engl....
[4] Caudrelier, JM, et al. IMRT sparing of normal tissues in locoregional treatment of breast cancer. Radiation Oncology 2014, 9:161 http://www.ro-journal.com/content/9/1/161.
[5] RT Answers. American Society for Radiation Oncology. “Side Effects.” www.rtanswers.org/treatmentinformation/treatmenttypes/howradiationtherap...
[6] American Society of Clinical Oncology. Cancer.Net, “Understanding Radiation Therapy.” www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/how-cancer-treated/radiation-thera...
[7] National Cancer Institute. “Radiation Therapy for Cancer.” www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/radiation-therapy/radiation-...