Role of a Radiation Oncologist

Oncology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study and treatment of tumors and cancers. A radiation oncologist specializes in the treatment of cancer using radiation therapy methods.

Oncology is the study of tumors and cancers. A radiation oncologist is a physician who specializes in the treatment of cancer using radiation therapy methods. Radiation stops the cancerous cells from reproducing and proliferating. It can also be used to relieve pain from a tumor by shrinking it.

For becoming a radiation oncologist, one needs to start with a Bachelor of Science and then have to complete four years of medical school. Next he/she will have to complete a year or more of internship and then a four year residency.

A radiation oncologist has many responsibilities. The oncologist uses x-rays, electrons and/or gamma rays to destroy cancer cells and relieve pain of tumors. A radiation oncologist leads the treatment team which mostly consists of medical physicist, dosimetrist and radiation therapist and other physicians such as radiation oncology nurses and technicians, pathologists, and surgeons. The radiation oncologist designs a cancer treatment plan specific to the patient, and ensure that the plan is accurately carried out by the treatment team. Generally the patients, who visit a radiation oncologist, have usually already had a biopsy or surgery.

A radiation oncologist uses different kinds of radiation treatment techniques. The types mostly used are external beam radiation, 3-D treatment planning, IMRT, stereotactic radiosurgery, brachytherapy and a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The oncologist selects the most effective treatment form for each individual patient to destroy cancer cells without affecting the neighboring healthy cells.  

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