• 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)
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.
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
• The main treatment you receive to cure, stop or
slow the disease.
• Receive treatment after one or more other
treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, in
an attempt to reduce the risk that your cancer will
• Treatment is designed to relieve the patients
symptoms, such as pain, by shrinking the tumor.
• 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.
Radiation Oncology: The
• 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
• The radiation oncologist specializes in treating
cancer with radiation.
• They will prescribe, plan, and oversee the
patients radiation treatment.
• The radiation therapist will position and prepare
you for treatment as well as operate the
machines that deliver the radiation.
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.
• 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.
• 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.