Radiotherapy is a treatment using high energy waves like x-rays and is used to kill cancer cells.

During the treatment, a specialist nurse or radiographer, use a machine to aim high-energy beams at the tumour.  Some normal cells around the targeted area may also be damaged during the treatment.

Radiotherapy is normally given in a hospital radiotherapy department; it is used daily over a short period of time.  Each treatment takes 10-15 minutes, and you will usually get the weekends off to recover. 

There are two types of radiotherapy: radical radiotherapy is used to attempt to cure the cancer whereas palliative radiotherapy is used if a cure is not possible and is primarily used to control symptoms such as bleeding. Radical therapy is used for those with early tumours.  Radiotherapy is sometimes used in addition to chemotherapy and is sometimes offered as a primary treatment approach in specific cancer types (squamous cell carcinoma) or alternatively as an initial treatment to reduce the size of the cancer to allow a more successful surgery later on to remove the cancer in its entirety. 

There are some side effects to look out for.  You may feel sick (nauseous) and tired.  The treatment can make the inside of your oesophagus inflamed, which will make swallowing difficult.