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Radiation Oncology


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Learn about what radiation oncology is and why it is important for treating cancer cells.

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Radiation Oncology

  1. 1. Radiation Oncology By Michael Chin MD
  2. 2. Definition • Radiation oncology is a branch of medicine that treats cancer by using high-energy radiation in the form of photons (i.e. X-rays & gamma rays) or subatomic particles (electrons or protons)
  3. 3. How Does It Work? • Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA inside the cancer cells. • When the DNA sustains enough damage, the cells are unable to multiple, leading to the death of the cells. • The goal is to destroy as many of the cancer cells as possible while committing as little damage to the healthy cells as possible.
  4. 4. Why Is Radiation Used? • The exact role depends on the type, size, location, and stage of your cancer. Radiation can be used as any of the following: • Primary Treatment • Adjuvant Therapy • Palliative Therapy
  5. 5. Primary Treatment • The main treatment you receive to cure, stop or slow the disease.
  6. 6. Adjuvant Therapy • Receive treatment after one or more other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, in an attempt to reduce the risk that your cancer will come back.
  7. 7. Palliative Therapy • Treatment is designed to relieve the patients symptoms, such as pain, by shrinking the tumor.
  8. 8. • For certain forms of cancer, radiation therapy alone is the best treatment. • However, radiation in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy tends to be most effective, leading to higher survival rates than any single type of therapy.
  9. 9. Radiation Oncology: The Team • A team of health care professionals will work together to deliver effective radiation therapy. • The team will usually include: • Radiation Oncologist • Radiation Therapist • Radiation Oncology Nurse
  10. 10. Radiation Oncologist • The radiation oncologist specializes in treating cancer with radiation. • They will prescribe, plan, and oversee the patients radiation treatment.
  11. 11. Radiation Therapist • The radiation therapist will position and prepare you for treatment as well as operate the machines that deliver the radiation.
  12. 12. Radiation Oncology Nurse • The radiation oncology nurse will explain the treatment to the patient, answer any questions, and help the patient manager their side effects.
  13. 13. • While the treatment itself only takes a few minutes, teach session takes about 30 minutes to prepare and set up the equipment. • It is important that the patient gets plenty of rest and eats a well-glanced diet during the course of radiation therapy - the treatment can be extremely draining on a patient.
  14. 14. Facts • Nearly two-thirds of all cancer patients will receive radiation therapy during their illness. • Medicare and Medicaid are the predominant sources of payment for radiation oncology.