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Types of Radiotherapy we offer

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) is recognised as one of the largest NHS Trusts in the UK. Nationally we are recognised as leaders in radiotherapy treatment, particularly in the fields of Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) and paediatrics.

Radiotherapy equipment

We have a range of radiotherapy equipment available to us at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), including:

  • five Elekta linacs with electrons
  • Radixact
  • two Tomotherapy units
  • Cyberknife
  • AlignRT
  • Orthovoltage unit
  • two CT scanners
  • High Dose Brachytherapy (HDR)

Types of Radiotherapy we offer

Developments in radiotherapy now allow us to target the radiation beam with more accuracy than ever before. Greater accuracy means that fewer healthy cells are damaged, which in turn means that higher doses of radiation can be given over a shorter period of time, making treatment more effective.

Here are some of the main types of radiotherapy we offer:

Image-guided Radiography (IGRT)

IGRT is the use of a variety of imaging techniques, such as X-rays or CT scans, alongside radiotherapy. Imaging allows us to confirm the position of the patient and the treatment area, targeting the radiotherapy beam more precisely.

Intensity-modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT)

IMRT uses linear accelerators to deliver very precise doses of radiation which are shaped to the shape of the treatment area. It can be used to deliver different doses to the treatment area as well as reducing the amount of radiation received by other organs close to the tumour.

Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT)

This is a form of IMRT; radiation is delivered whilst the treatment machine shapes the beam whilst it moves around you.

Voluntary Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (vDIBH)

vDIBH is used in the treatment of some patients with left-sided breast cancer. This involves the patient breathing in and holding their breath for approximately 20 seconds. This helps to reduce the amount of heart in the treatment beam. Your consultant will discuss this with you if they feel it will be of benefit.

Electron treatment

This is a form of radiotherapy that is used to treat tumours on or close to the skin surface. Part of the treatment machine will gently touch you for the duration of your treatment. The machine is placed into position daily and may vary slightly depending on the position that you are lying in.

Last reviewed: 05 March 2024