What is Radiation Oncology?

On the road toward wellness, a cancer patient will learn many new words, phrases and terms. Prior to visiting us, your question may be, “What is radiation oncology, and what are they going to do?”

Simply described, oncology is the branch of medicine that deals with tumors, or cancer; radiation oncology is the medical specialty that treats disease with radiation (it’s sometimes abbreviated to XRT). As it passes through cancerous tissue, radiation can slow or destroy diseased cells. So radiation oncology is often part of the prescribed plan to treat cancerous growth.

A radiation oncologist is a doctor who specializes in the use of radiation to treat disease.

Like all radiation oncologists, our physicians at Radiation Oncology Associates work closely with other physicians such as surgeons and surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, internal medicine specialists and other professionals as part of a team.

Radiation oncologists undergo four years of residency (in addition to an internship) with extensive oncology training. After their training, radiation oncologists may undergo certification by either the American Board of Radiology or the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology.

Radiation oncology may be used to remove or control a cancer, or to relieve symptoms.

Radiation therapy may be just one part of the plan devised by your treatment team in their battle against the disease; it’s common to combine radiation with surgery, chemotherapy or other treatments. The treatment plan that’s right for you, and the amount of radiation used, will depend on the type of tumor you have, its location, the “stage” of the tumor, and your own general health.