What is Radiotherapy Physics?

Radiotherapy Physics encompasses a large variety of things, many of which may go unnoticed when a patient has their treatment. So, maybe it’s best to start with a smaller scope: What is Radiotherapy? Radiotherapy is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells or shrink the tumour.  This effect is achieved by delivering radiation which damages the cancer by causing breaks along the strands of the DNA. This is effective as cells have their own tools to repair the damage, however, in cancer cells these tend to be faulty. In fact, this is one of the reasons why treatments are spread out, to allow the healthy cells to recover somewhat before the next treatment. It is important that cells are allowed to recover between treatments otherwise the treatment may be counterproductive and harm the patient more than benefitting them.

A visual representation of DNA being broken down by radiation1.

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