Palliative radiotherapy

Palliative radiation therapy’s aim isn’t to cure cancer. We focus on giving you a better quality of life by controlling your symptoms.


What is palliative care?

Palliative care does not aim to cure a cancer, it is used to help shrink, slow down the growth, or control symptoms of an advanced stage tumour. It may also be used to control the symptoms of a cancer that has spread to give a patient a better quality of life.

How can palliative treatment help?

Palliative treatment can:

    • Shrink a tumour to reduce pain
    • Treat symptoms of cancer in the brain
    • Treat symptoms of cancer in the lungs
    • Control ulcerating tumours and reduce bleeding
    • Treat a blood vessel blockage in the neck
    • Relieve pain in bone cancer
  • Relieve pressure on the spinal cord

Is it right for me?

Palliative radiation therapy isn’t the answer for everyone. Other therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or biological therapy may be better. Your consultant is the best person to talk with about the best way forward.

How long will radiation therapy last?

Most people don’t need long courses of palliative radiation therapy – it might be anything between one and ten treatments. Your consultant can advise you. If you live a long way from your treatment centre, you may be offered a session on the same day as your first consultation.

What’s involved?

    • In most cases, before your treatment, you’ll be invited to a ‘planning’ session. That’s when we work with you to design the best course of treatment – taking into account your body shape, and the size and location of the cancer
    • During the planning session, you’ll be given an X-ray or a CT scan. We’ll mark your skin near the treatment area. This makes sure your treatment is accurately targeted
  • If the treatment involves your head or neck, then before your treatment you’ll be fitted with a head frame (or specially designed mask) to keep your head completely still during the procedure. This involves having a local anaesthetic

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

Search for a centre near you


Little Aston Hall Drive, Sutton Coldfield, B74 3BF


Springfield Cancer Centre, Lawn Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 7GU


Unit 710, Centennial Park, Centennial Avenue, Elstree, Borehamwood, WD6 3SZ


BMI St Martha Oncology Centre, 46 Harvey Road, Guildford, GU1 3LX


17 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, ME19 4UA

Milton Keynes

Sunrise Parkway, Linford Wood East, Milton Keynes, MK14 6LS


The Oaks, Fordham Road, Newmarket, CB8 7XN


The Park Centre for oncology, Sherwood Lodge Drive, Burntstump Country Park, Nottingham, NG5 8RX


Sandy Lane West, Peters Way, Oxford, OX4 6LB


Bartons Road, Havant, PO9 5NA


Spire Hospital, Chalybeate Close, Southampton, SO16 6UY


69 Alma Road, Windsor, SL4 3HD