Specialised Radiotherapy

Patient Guide

Specialised Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy (or radiation therapy) is not commonly used to treat melanoma, however, there are some instances where it may be useful such as if the melanoma has spread to the brain, also known as brain metastases. The radiotherapy would be targeted (stereotactic radiotherapy) which may be known as Gamma Knife or CyberKnife. 

The treatment involves using an X-ray machine focussed to administer high energy rays of radiation to the treatment area. The treatment schedule will vary from patient to patient and before treatment starts, the team will take careful measurements to calculate the dose and the angles of the radiation beams. 

The treatment doesnt usually take more than a few minutes and your wont feel anything while it is happening.  You may have a single treatment or several treatments each week over a number of weeks as an outpatient and so you will need to travel to hospital for this.  Your medical team will go through your treatment plan with you and the possible side effects.

Possible side effects

The most common short-term side effects of radiotherapy are reddening and/or sore skin and hair loss, but these occur only in the area being treated. In addition, you may experience some tiredness. Long-term side effects will vary according to where the radiation was targeted on your body.

If you have any worries or concerns, please contact your medical team or call our:

Melanoma Helpline on 0808 801 0777

Questions you may have

  • What are the treatment options for my advanced melanoma?
  • Where is the nearest hospital that offers this treatment?
  • How long is the treatment plan for the stereotactic radiotherapy?
  • How will I know if the radiotherapy has been successful?