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Southfields is one of the few centres in the UK to offer radiotherapy as part of our treatment for cancer. Led by a world-renowned RCVS and European Specialist, our radiation team has many years of experience dealing with radiation oncology cases.

Ionising radiation is targeted at cancer cells to disrupt their ability to divide, so when they come to divide, they die. Ionising radiation is usually given in the form of powerful X-rays produced by a machine called a Linear Accelerator.

Cancer cells generally multiply and grow very rapidly. Ionising radiation works primarily by disrupting the process of cell division; as the cells try to multiply, they die. Radiotherapy is a focused treatment and the goal is to provide local or regional control of cancer. Radiotherapy is rarely used for cancer that has spread throughout the body, although in some cases, this may be possible.

Radiation treatments are individualised for each patient and are sometimes incorporated into a treatment plan involving other types of cancer therapy, such as surgery or chemotherapy.

Radiotherapy is typically used:

  • after surgery, when all the visible cancer has been removed but microscopic cancer has been left behind at the surgical site (margins) and there is a risk of tumour re-growth, e.g. mast cell tumours and soft tissue sarcomas
  • for treatment of naturally radiosensitive tumours without surgical removal (you have decided not to proceed with surgery, the tumour is inoperable, or surgery is not recommended) – this category includes nasal tumours, brain tumours, thyroid tumours, some oral tumours and anal sac tumours
  • for palliation/slowing down the growth of many solid tumours that are not surgically removable, or where surgery would carry a significant risk to the patient
  • for pain relief in cats and dogs with primary bone tumours (e.g. osteosarcoma) or tumours that have metastasised (spread to) areas of bone

At Southfields, our radiotherapy team work closely with our imaging Specialists who run Southfields’ sophisticated imaging facilities, together with expert anaesthesia and analgesia clinicians and 24-hour veterinary and nursing staff, all of whom are dedicated to providing our patients with the very best treatment and care.