Radiotherapy for lung cancer

Radiotherapy is a common treatment for lung cancer. It uses high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. You usually have external radiotherapy. This means using radiation from a machine to destroy the cancer. 

Planning radiotherapy for lung cancer

The radiotherapy team plan your external beam radiotherapy before you start treatment. 

Having radiotherapy for non small cell lung cancer

Radiotherapy can be used to treat non small cell lung cancer. You have it in the hospital radiotherapy department. 

Having radiotherapy for small cell lung cancer

Radiotherapy uses high energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. It is sometimes given in combination with chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer. 

Side effects of lung cancer radiotherapy

Radiotherapy to the lung can cause side effects such as tiredness, sore skin and a cough. Some side effects can start some months or years later.  

Having radiotherapy to the brain (prophylactic cranial irradiation)

Doctors use radiotherapy to the brain in people with small cell lung cancer who has limited disease. This is also called prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI).

Having radiotherapy for brain metastases

You might have radiotherapy to the brain if your lung cancer has spread there. 

Last reviewed: 
01 Feb 2023
Next review due: 
01 Feb 2026