Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is a cancer treatment often used as part of a treatment plan alongside surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to target and kill cancer cells. It works because cancer cells are more sensitive to radiation than normal cells. Therefore, cancer cells are destroyed while normal cells recover.

Why you might need radiation therapy

Patients are usually referred for radiation therapy at Austin Health by their general practitioner, surgeon or medical oncologist. Radiation therapy is used as a safe and effective treatment for many types of cancer.

For some people, radiation therapy is the main treatment to cure cancer, but it is often combined with other treatments including surgery, chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Radiation therapy can be given before, during or after these treatments. Radiation therapy is also useful to relieve symptoms of cancer such as pain, even in patients whose cancer is too advanced to be cured. Certain non-cancerous conditions can also be treated with radiation therapy.

Your radiation therapy treatment pathway

View a tour of our Radiation Therapy (or Radiation Oncology) facilities at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre, to help you understand what we do and what to expect when you come here for your radiation therapy treatment.

Helpful resources during your treatment

These resources will help you to better understand what to expect from your care and treatment, and enable you to be involved in the planning of your individual cancer care and management, together with your treatment team.

If you have any questions about any of these resources, please ask a member of your treatment team.

How you receive your radiation therapy

Radiation therapy treatment is usually given with a machine called a linear accelerator. These machines are very precise and use imaging technology to target your treatment. The machine moves around you and can treat you from many different directions. Radiation therapy treats a specific area of the body. You won’t see or feel the X-rays and you will not be radioactive after treatment.  


Radiation Oncology, ONJ Centre

+ 61 3 9496 2800

Monday to Friday 8am-5.30pm

Radiation Oncology, Ballarat-Austin Radiation Oncology Centre (BAROC)

+61 3 5320 8600

Monday to Friday 8am-5.30pm

Radiation Oncology, Stawell Austin Radiation Oncology Service (SAROS) - contact us via BAROC:

+61 3 5320 8600

Monday to Friday 8am-5.30pm

A patient being treated in the MRI-guided linear accelerator

Our statewide MRI-guided Radiation Therapy service

MRI-guided radiation therapy combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with radiation therapy. It treats tumours more accurately than conventional radiation therapy, with less side effects and fewer treatments. It takes images of your tumour in real-time so that therapy can be tailored to your needs. We will be the only public hospital in Victoria with an MR-Linac. It will be the state-wide service provider to Victorian patients. The service will begin treating patients in 2021.

Learn more


Austin Health Radiation Oncology is committed to providing a service that embraces new technology, new techniques and new ways of treating each patient so that the best outcome can be achieved. Learn more about our technology platforms and practices.


Your radiation therapy team

Your team consists of a number of specialist roles including radiation oncologists, radiation therapists and radiation oncology medical physicists who work together to guide you through your radiation treatment and ensure you receive the best possible care.

Learn more about these specialist roles

Find out more about your radiation oncologist

Meet your treatment team