Each day the Radiation Oncology staff and treatment team meet to discuss an array of cancer diagnoses for adult and pediatric cancer patients. Doctors, physicists, dosimetrists, nurses, therapists and many others with advanced training in using X-ray beam treatment, which destroys cancer cells, are on this team to provide and develop the best possible care for each person.
Radiation, or radiotherapy, is a type of treatment used in cancer management. Radiation uses high dose energy, most often from X-ray beams, to kill cancer cells and help prevent them from spreading to other areas of your body. It may be used along, or in combination with chemotherapy and/or surgery to treat cancer. Sometimes, when a cure is not possible, radiation also may be used to help alleviate symptoms, such as pain and discomfort. Radiation is used mainly for cancer management, but sometimes, this treatment is recommended for non-malignant cases such as trigeminal neuralgia, severe thyroid eye disease or prevention of keloid scar growth.
While both healthy and cancerous cells are destroyed by radiation therapy, the goal of each patient’s treatment is to destroy the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide to the area of concern. Research is on-going in radiation therapy delivery with the goal of destroying as few normal, healthy cells as possible. UMMC’s Radiation Oncology Department has the most up to date delivery systems to provided treatment tailored to each patient, therefore providing patients the best treatment delivery with the least amount of damage possible.
This radiation is delivered from outside the body. Doctors have many choices of tools and delivery methods for external beam radiation.
This just means the radiation dose is given from inside the body with implanted radioactive sources, which can be intracavitary, interstitial or attached to a patient’s body surface. These procedures usually can be done on an outpatient basis but sometimes require hospitalization. Any radiation treatment is based on the type of cancer, a person’s general health and their ability to tolerate treatments.
A radiation oncology team also may consider other methods of making cancerous cells more sensitive to radiation treatments or when possible to target the cancer. Those include:
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