What is Radiation Oncology?
Radiation oncology is a medical speciality that involves the controlled use of radiation to treat cancer either for cure, or to reduce pain and other symptoms caused by cancer. Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is the term used to describe the actual treatment delivered by the radiation oncology team.
Three unique specialist professions are involved in the practice of radiation oncology: Radiation Oncologists (doctors), Radiation Therapists and Radiation Oncology Medical Physicists. These highly trained medical professionals use advanced technologies to deliver safe and effective radiation therapy to cancer patients with as few side effects as possible. Radiation therapy is a part of treatment in around 40% of all patients cured of cancer.
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What is a Radiation Oncologist?
A Radiation Oncologist is a medical specialist doctor with training in the use of radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) to cure or reduce the symptoms of cancer, and in the overall care of cancer patients.
They are ultimately responsible for assessing individual patients, determining the best management plan, overseeing treatment and assessing progress. Radiation Oncologists may order tests and images, prescribe medications, and consult with other doctors involved with cancer treatment.
Radiation Oncologists work closely with Radiation Therapists and Radiation Oncology Medical Physicists to ensure that the treatment is safe and accurate. After treatment, ongoing follow-up by the Radiation Oncologist is common, in helping to assess the patients response to treatment and manage any further developments in the care of the patient.
The Radiation Oncologist will meet regularly with patients and their carers to discuss what is involved before, during and after treatment.
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