Understanding radiotherapy

SIRT is a form of radiotherapy so it is important to first understand more about this type of treatment. Radiotherapy uses radioactive substances to destroy tumours and is widely used as a cancer treatment. Radiotherapy can be given either from outside of the body (external radiotherapy)
or inside the body (internal radiotherapy).

External radiotherapy

This is the most common type of radiotherapy and uses a machine to focus beams of radiation from outside the body onto the affected area. However, the liver is especially sensitive to radiation so can only tolerate small doses of external radiotherapy before it starts to damage healthy liver cells, so for this reason is not widely used to treat liver cancer.

Internal radiotherapy

This is a special type of radiotherapy where a source of radiation is placed inside the body. This has the benefit of directly targeting the tumour with radiation while minimising the risk of damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.