What Is Radiation Oncology?
Radiation therapy or radiation oncology is the use of energy (called ionizing radiation) to eliminate cancer cells and shrink tumors. These radiation beams are similar to the rays emitted by a CT scan or x-ray, however they use higher energy. Radiation can be administered externally, internally or in the form of a radiopharmaceutical, your physician will discuss the best plan for you.
We know that this process can sound intimidating, but radiation oncology can be a very beneficial and safe way to treat cancer. Radiation works by focusing on an area called the target tissue, pointing radiation beams at those areas, causing damage to cancer cells and limiting harm to nearby, healthy tissue.
Using IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) allows our radiation oncologists to more precisely plan and treat cancers while also using higher doses of radiation to limit the number of appointments a patient must attend. Half of all cancer patients are treated with radiation as a part of their treatment plan to stop the growth of cancer cells and prevent new cells from growing.
What are the steps you can expect?
1. Diagnosis: This can be the scariest step, but your doctors and the team at Cedar Lake Oncology will be here for you during this time.
2. Meet with radiation oncologist: This is when we will discuss cancer histories, conduct an exam and then state purposes and goals for treatment, and answer any questions patients might have.
3. Simulation: At this appointment, we will use a series of CT scans to take measurements and determine how to accurately target the site for treatment.
4. Treatment Planning: The dosimetrist calculates your treatment plans and selects the correct beam sizes, angles, energies and shielding for the patient’s body.
5. Testing & Treatment: We will test the measurements and begin treatment at the next appointment.