Radiation therapy is a carefully regulated and targeted use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It causes some cancer cells to die immediately after treatment, while most die or become disabled due to radiation damage to the chromosomes and DNA of cancer cells. A radiation oncologist can use radiation to cure cancer, relieve pain in a cancer patient, or relieve other symptoms due to cancer. Radiation oncologists treat cancer with radiation therapy, which involves the use of high-energy x-rays or other particles to kill cancer cells.
New techniques also allow doctors to better target radiation to protect healthy cells. The Department of Radiation Oncology at Mayo Clinic offers special groups related to diseases and conditions, which bring together the expertise of many specialists to evaluate and treat people with cancer and to conduct research. Medications prescribed by a medical oncologist that can kill cancer cells directly are called chemotherapy. Once the diagnosis has been made, you will likely talk to your primary care doctor and several cancer specialists, such as a surgeon, a medical oncologist, and a radiation oncologist, to discuss your treatment options. Meeting with a Radiation Oncologist is the first step if you are considering radiation therapy.
Continued investment in radiation therapy services, clinical and laboratory research and a well-trained radiation oncology team is vital to the health of Australians and New Zealanders now and in the future. Cancer care teams often include a variety of other healthcare professionals, including pathologists, radiologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, cancer nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and more. Treatment Planning involves the simulation of information obtained during the simulation along with their previous medical tests to develop a treatment plan. Radiation oncology nurses work with all members of the treatment team to care for you and your family before, during, and after treatment. The linear accelerator is housed in a cancer center and a multidisciplinary team of radiation oncologists (your specialist doctor), nurses, radiation therapists and medical physicists will talk with you about radiation therapy as a treatment option, evaluate, plan and manage your treatment as well as it helps with any side effects you experience. An oncologist is a doctor who treats cancer and provides medical care to a person who has been diagnosed with cancer. The radiation oncologist will explain any special precautions you or your family and friends may need to take.
To locate a medical imaging or radiation oncology provider in your community, you can search the database of ACR accredited centers. Mayo Clinic radiation oncology experts treat more than 7,000 people with a wide variety of cancers each year.