Radiotherapy, a cornerstone in cancer treatment, uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. This blog explores radiotherapy, including its types, mechanisms, costs in Nepal, side effects, comparisons with chemotherapy, and the technology involved.

What is Radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy, also known as radiation therapy, employs controlled doses of radiation to damage the DNA of cancer cells, inhibiting their growth and leading to their eventual death. This treatment can be administered independently or alongside other therapies.

Types of Radiotherapy

External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT)

EBRT involves delivering radiation from a machine outside the body, targeting the tumor with precision. Techniques include:

  • 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy (3D-CRT)
  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
  • Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
  • Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)

Internal Radiotherapy (Brachytherapy)

Brachytherapy places radioactive sources inside or near the tumor, allowing for a high dose of radiation in a localized area. Types include:

  • Interstitial Brachytherapy
  • Intracavitary Brachytherapy
  • Surface Brachytherapy

How Does Radiotherapy Work?

Radiotherapy damages the DNA of cancer cells using ionizing radiation, preventing them from dividing and growing. Healthy cells can also be affected but typically recover more effectively.

Radiotherapy vs Chemotherapy

While both treatments aim to kill cancer cells, radiotherapy uses localized radiation, and chemotherapy uses drugs that travel throughout the body. Radiotherapy is more targeted, often resulting in fewer systemic side effects compared to chemotherapy.

Radiotherapy Machines

Radiotherapy machines, such as linear accelerators, deliver precise doses of radiation to the tumor. Enhanced imaging and computing technology boost accuracy, minimizing harm to nearby healthy tissues.

Costs of Radiotherapy in Nepal

The cost of radiotherapy in Nepal can vary depending on the type of treatment, duration, and the healthcare facility. On average, it ranges from NPR 100,000 to NPR 300,000. It’s advisable to consult local cancer centers for precise estimates and potential financial aid options.

What Happens to Your Body During Radiation Therapy?

Throughout radiation therapy, high-energy radiation aims at cancer cells, impairing their DNA and preventing them from multiplying. This process also affects surrounding healthy cells, but they usually recover more effectively. Immediate side effects might include skin reactions, fatigue, and localized hair loss, depending on the treated area.

What Happens After Radiotherapy?

Post-radiotherapy, patients enter a recovery phase where side effects gradually diminish. Followup care is crucial for monitoring the effectiveness of the treatment and managing any long-term side effects. Regular check-ups, imaging tests, and blood work are often part of this phase to ensure the cancer has been effectively controlled.

What is Radiotherapy Used For?

Radiotherapy is used for treating various types of cancer, either alone or in conjunction with other treatments like surgery and chemotherapy. It’s particularly effective for localized tumors and can also be used to relieve symptoms in advanced cancer stages, improving the patient’s quality of life.

Side Effects of Radiotherapy

Common side effects include:

  • Skin Reactions: Redness, dryness, and peeling.
  • Fatigue: Can last several weeks post-treatment.
  • Hair Loss: Limited to the treated area.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Especially if the stomach area is treated.
  • Long-term Effects: Rare but may include fibrosis, heart problems, and secondary cancers.

Preparing for Radiotherapy

Preparation involves consultations, planning sessions, and simulation to ensure precise targeting of the tumor. Small marks or tattoos may be placed on the skin for guidance.

During Treatment

Radiotherapy sessions are typically quick and painless. Patients lie still on a treatment table while the machine rotates around them, delivering radiation from multiple angles.

Post-Treatment Care

Follow-up care is crucial for monitoring side effects and assessing the treatment’s effectiveness. This involves regular check-ups, blood tests, and imaging studies.

Advances in Radiotherapy

Ongoing research aims to improve radiotherapy’s precision and effectiveness. Innovations like proton therapy promise reduced damage to healthy tissues and better outcomes for patients.

Radiotherapy at Kathmandu Cancer Center


Kathmandu Cancer Center is a leading facility in Nepal providing advanced radiotherapy treatments. With state-of-the-art equipment and a team of experienced oncologists, the center offers comprehensive cancer care tailored to individual patient needs. The center emphasizes precision, safety, and patient comfort, ensuring high-quality treatment and support throughout the cancer journey.


Radiotherapy remains a vital tool in cancer treatment, offering targeted and effective therapy with manageable side effects. Its role in oncology continues to evolve, providing hope and improved quality of life for cancer patients.