Introduction Radiotherapy plays a major role in the treatment of gynaecological cancers. It can be administered to cure, to limit the growth of a cancer, or to palliate troublesome symptoms.
Radiotherapy is a local treatment that is aimed at a specific area of the body, rather than being a systemic treatment. It uses ionising radiation that can penetrate the tissues of the body to destroy cellular DNA. Radiotherapy exerts its maximum effect in well-oxygenated tissues, and it might not therefore be as effective in patients who are anaemic. Tissues that are particularly susceptible to ionising radiation include skin tissue, hair follicles, mucosal tissue (including gastrointestinal tract and vagina), and bone marrow.