Radiation Oncology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Radiation Oncology

Patient care


About Radiation Oncology

Radiation Oncology is a clinical speciality in cancer medicine. Together with surgical oncology and medical oncology, it represents the backbone of modern scientific approaches in the treatment of cancer. In radiation oncology, photon irradiation is used to kill cancer cells. Irradiation can be delivered from the distance though the skin of the patient (so-called, external beam irradiation) or it can be given via inserted radioactive isotopes (so-called, brachytherapy). Whether irradiation can kill all cancer cells and produce cure from the disease or not, it can also be used to reduce symptoms of the disease, such as pain.


Special aspects

Together with other diagnostic and therapeutic specialists as well as supporting specialists and staff, we cover the time from the diagnosis of cancer until treatment is finished and the patient starts routine visits after treatment. We also offer support groups for cancer patients and special groups including a laryngectomy support group.


Radiation therapy characteristics

Depending on the characteristics of a patient’s disease and general health, typical radiation therapy may be as short as a single session (irradiation) of a few minutes or be as prolonged as 7 weeks with daily treatments during the working week. In some cases the patient will be treated with external beam radiation therapy while in other (mostly gynaecological cancers) brachytherapy will also be included. Radiation therapy treatment may be preceded by one or more cycles of chemotherapy or be given concurrently (during the treatment with radiation therapy) or after it. Similarly, the patient may receive radiation therapy either before or after surgery.


Chemotherapy characteristics

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drug therapy. Chemotherapy works by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells, which grow and divide quickly. It can also affect healthy cells that divide quickly, such as those that line the mouth and intestines or hair growth. Damage to healthy cells may cause side effects. Often, side effects get better or go away after chemotherapy is over. Depending on the type of cancer and how advanced it is, chemotherapy can lead to a cure, or be used to slow the growth down and improve symptoms for a period of time. Chemotherapy is sometimes given during a hospital stay, or at the outpatient unit.


Treatments we offer

We offer all state-funded treatment with radiotherapy and chemotherapy in adults and children for cure and for palliation.