Radiation oncology is the use of radiation, a special kind of energy carried by waves or streams of particles, as a method for treating cancerous tumors by destroying a cancer cell’s ability to reproduce. A cancer patient may be treated with radiation alone, or radiation therapy may be part of a patient’s treatment program – which may include surgery (surgical oncology) and/or chemotherapy (medical oncology).
Radiation oncology utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment involving a collaborative effort among physicians, physicists, dosimetrists, nurses, scientists, technologists, and other support staff.
A radiation oncologist may treat cancer using radiation produced by a free-standing machine, i.e. external beam radiation therapy, and radiation may also be administered with radioactive sources that are placed inside the patient, i.e. brachytherapy of either the prostate or breast.
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