An introduction to radiotherapy
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An introduction to radiotherapy

Ann Marie Rice Clinical Nurse Specialist, Beatson Oncology Centre, Glasgow

This article outlines the foundations of radiotherapy and discusses the nurse’s role in caring for patients who are undergoing treatment

Aims and intended learning outcomes

Radiotherapy has been used as a treatment modality for cancer patients since 1895 (Holmes 1988). The aim of this article is to explain the use of radiotherapy, highlight the importance of the nurse’s role in caring for radiotherapy patients and to discuss some of the more common side- effects of treatment. After reading this article you should be able to:

Understand the principles of radiotherapy

Understand the main methods of delivering radiotherapy

Develop your understanding of the side-effects of radiotherapy

Be aware of the importance of patient education

Increase your awareness of the nurse's role in radiation oncology.

Nursing Standard. 12, 3, 49-56. doi: 10.7748/ns.12.3.49.s54

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