Radiotherapy for brain tumours

Radiotherapy is a common treatment for brain and spinal cord tumours. It uses high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. 

For brain and spinal cord tumours, you usually have external radiotherapy. This means using radiation from a machine to destroy the cancer. There are different types of external radiotherapy. The most common type is called conformal radiotherapy.   

Planning radiotherapy for brain tumours

Your radiotherapy treatment plan is individual to you. Your radiotherapy team carefully work out how much radiation you need and exactly where you need it. 

Having radiotherapy for brain tumours

You have external radiotherapy in a hospital radiotherapy department. You usually have it as an outpatient each weekday over 3 to 6 weeks.

Stereotactic radiotherapy for brain tumours

Stereotactic radiotherapy is a type of external radiotherapy. Some people may have a very high dose of stereotactic radiotherapy over one treatment. This is called radiosurgery.

Side effects of radiotherapy for brain tumours

Radiotherapy to the brain and spinal cord can cause side effects. These include tiredness and hair loss. 

Last reviewed: 
05 Apr 2023
Next review due: 
05 Apr 2026