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Beams of radiation both enter and exit the body through healthy tissue, and tiny movements by the patient and even breathing can put the tumour slightly off target, leading to side effects from damaged healthy tissue.
This is a particular issue for children and young people, whose delicate and growing bodies are particularly susceptible to these off-target effects.
Although radiotherapy has dramatically improved and modernised over the years, as with any treatment it’s not perfect and still has issues.
Unable to cope with this assault to their lifeline, ultimately the cancer cells die.Different kinds of radiation are used here, usually x-rays but sometimes tiny particles like protons which are found in the hearts of atoms.The radiation is hurled toward the tumour in beams ejected from a highly sophisticated machine, most commonly one called a linear accelerator.It was during this surge of worldwide interest into x-rays that scientists made another crucial observation: x-rays could damage the skin if used repeatedly.This prompted scientists to wonder whether they could take advantage of this effect to treat disease, including cancer.