Types of external radiotherapy

There are many different types of external radiotherapy. The treatment you have depends on your cancer and its position in the body.

For information about radiotherapy to the whole body as part of a stem cell transplant, go to our page about total body irradiation (TBI).

Conformal radiotherapy

Conformal radiotherapy shapes the radiation beams to closely fit the area of the cancer. It is also called 3D conformal radiotherapy or 3DCRT. It is a very common type of radiotherapy. 

Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)

Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) is a type of conformal radiotherapy. It delivers different amounts of radiation to different parts of the treatment area.

Image guided radiotherapy (IGRT)

Image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) uses scans and x-rays to make sure that you are in the correct position for your radiotherapy treatment.

Stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT)

Stereotactic radiotherapy is a way of giving radiotherapy to a tumour from different directions. This makes it easier to avoid healthy tissue.

Proton beam therapy

Proton beam therapy is a type of radiotherapy treatment. It uses high energy or low energy proton beams to treat cancer.

Superficial radiotherapy to the skin

Superficial radiotherapy is a type of external radiotherapy. It treats cancer on or close to the skin surface. 

Last reviewed: 
02 Nov 2023
Next review due: 
02 Nov 2026