Radiation oncology is a cancer treatment that uses X-rays or other focused energies to eliminate or control the growth and size of malignant tumors. Used in many locations in the body, radiation is an integral part of cancer care in cancer centers across the globe.
Let’s talk about the therapeutic procedures involved in radiation oncology and where you can go in Wooster, Ohio, for effective radiation therapy.
Facts You Should Know About Radiation Oncology
More than half of cancer patients received radiation oncology treatments to reduce the size and symptoms associated with their cancerous tumors. In some cases, radiation therapy eliminates malignant growth. As such, this kind of treatment is an essential tool in the oncologist’s arsenal.
Radiation actually destroys the cancer cells’ ability to divide and increase in number. Usually, it is delivered in small doses spread out over several weeks. Smaller doses work well to shrink tumors and preserve normal tissue surrounding the tumor and reduce the severity of side effects.
Therapeutic Procedures of Radiation Oncology
Here’s how your radiation oncology therapy will proceed. Remember, each treatment plan for each cancer patient is fully individualized to medical history, type and location of cancer, and more. So, your plan will be unlike any other patient’s.
Health history and screening
When you visit an oncology specialist, he/she will first go through your medical history and order a brief medical examination. If he or she determines radiation would benefit you, then you will need to talk to a radiation oncologist specializing in these treatments. You will learn what kind of radiation you will receive, how it’s delivered, side effects, frequency of treatments, and more. This consultation is your opportunity to ask questions and understand what will happen and why.
Imaging first and then the simulation
Next, you will undergo imaging tests, which will assist the radiation oncologist in understanding your specific kind of cancer and how to aim the therapeutic beams. Imaging also plays an important role in radiation therapy simulation.
With this step in your evaluation, your doctor will make a mask or cast of your body part and mark it to show the radiation technologist where to aim the radiation beam. This practice run is very helpful to both the medical team and the patient and ensures the accuracy of your treatments.
Finally, your radiation oncologist will inform you about the length and number of your treatments. Typically, sessions last 15 to 30 minutes. You may have them multiple days per week for five to eight weeks.
Types of Radiation Oncology Procedures
This type of cancer treatment may be delivered in several ways. However, oncologists use two broad categories to describe these processes: external beam radiation and internal radiation.
With external beam therapy, a linear accelerator machine delivers the radiation to larger body areas. Internal radiation delivers the curative energy through permanently or temporarily implanted devices. Sometimes doctors opt to combine these therapy types during open surgeries. Some patients receive radiation by swallowing the medication or through carefully guided injections.
Wooster Cancer Care at Wooster Community Hospital
Fortunately for cancer patients needing radiation therapy to control their cancer or put it into remission, Wooster Cancer Care offers state-of-the-art treatments in a friendly and comfortable environment. We are affiliated with the James Cancer Network at Ohio State University, a partnership that gives patients access to world-class research and treatments in an excellent therapeutic environment right in their hometown community.
To learn more about how radiation oncology plays a role in cancer treatment and recovery, please contact us at (330) 262-2800.