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Cancer Services

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Specialist techniques and services

DIBH (Deep Inspiration Breath Hold)

Deep inspiration breath hold (also referred to as DIBH) is a technique used to control respiratory motion.

It essentially involves a patient holding a deeply inhaled breath for short periods of time during the CT scan and treatment delivery. This method effectively moves the critical organs away from the treatment beams and helps to reduce motion caused by respiration.

The technique primarily benefits patients whose treatment is in close proximity to the heart, but there is potential benefit for any site where reduction of respiratory motion will increase treatment accuracy and reproducibility.

Stereotactic Radiotherapy

Stereotactic Radiotherapy (also referred to as SABR, SBRT, SRS, SRT, and radiosurgery) is the delivery of very high doses of focused radiation to small tumours, while minimising damage to surrounding tissues. This type of radiotherapy may be given as a single treatment or as part of a short course of treatment.

Stereotactic radiotherapy is routinely used for treating brain tumours and a variety of small tumours in the body, such as in the lung and liver. Oxford has been selected as one of a group of centres delivering stereotactic radiotherapy through the Commissioning through Evaluation NHS England initiative. This investment (£15m over three years) will assess the use of stereotactic radiotherapy to treat metastatic (secondary) tumours, primary liver tumours and the re-irradiation of cancers in the pelvis and spine. Only a small number of people have tumours that are suitable for treatment with stereotactic radiotherapy.

The department has an Advanced Practitioner Radiographer in Neuro-oncology, who is responsible for co-ordinating and delivering stereotactic radiotherapy to the brain, as well as providing information and support to all patients receiving radiotherapy to the brain and central nervous system throughout the course of their treatment.


The Oxford Cancer Centre is one of approximately 19 centres in the UK that are permitted to treat children. We therefore have a paediatric specialist radiographer who works closely with the Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Team at the Children's Hospital, to ensure that the children and their families are fully prepared and supported whilst in our care.


Since 2016 the Oxford Cancer Centre has been pleased to offer a High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy service. This provides intracavitary and interstitial brachytherapy to patients with gynaecological cancers, eg. cervix and womb.

We have a dedicated HDR brachytherapy radiographer who coordinates and delivers the service, and provides information and advice to all of our brachytherapy patients.

The department has a Gynaecology Consultant Radiographer who provides a comprehensive therapy radiographer service in gynaecological oncology, improving service delivery to patients undergoing external beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy and optimising the use of the existing and developing service.

Gynaecological oncology patients now have a single point of contact for specialist advice and support throughout their radiotherapy and brachytherapy treatment.

Nuclear Medicine

We work closely with our colleagues in nuclear medicine who lead the radioisotope therapy service. The systemic administration of radioisotopes allows the treatment of specific cancers and some non malignant disorders to be targeted to the specific area. Whilst this is predominantly an out patient based service, these treatments are also delivered in the in-patient setting, with two bespoke rooms available.

The service provides care and treatment to patients with thyroid, neuroendocrine tumours, thyrotoxicosis and rheumatoid arthritis. We also treat with radioactive resin microspheres into the hepatic artery to radioembolize liver tumours or liver metastases (SIRT).