The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Leeds Cancer Centre


Radiotherapy is the treatment of cancer with X-rays to kill cancer cells. It is often used on its own to treat lung cancer but it may also be given together with or after chemotherapy or surgery.

Radiotherapy is given as an outpatient with the treatment schedule varying in the number of treatments given.

The different radiotherapy schedules can include:

  • stereotactic radiotherapy
  • concurrent radiotherapy given with chemotherapy
  • radical radiotherapy
  • high dose palliative radiotherapy
  • palliative radiotherapy
  • whole brain radiotherapy
  • prophylactic cranial radiotherapy

The oncologist always discusses the appropriate schedule including the planning process prior to the delivery of treatment. The lung cancer nurse specialist is also available to discuss the treatment and possible side effects.

Potential side-effects

Radiotherapy itself is painless. However, there are some side-effects associated with it and include fatigue, skin reactions, a sore gullet and occasionally breathlessness and cough. The side-effects usually gradually disappear after completion of treatment.

If you develop any side-effects, you should seek advice from your oncologist or lung cancer nurse specialist.