radiation oncology


Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncology is a common type of cancer treatment that uses high-energy particles such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons to damage or destroy cancer cells entirely.

A scan determines the proper course of radiation treatment for a patient’s specific cancer. These scans include MRI, CT and PET CT. Once determined that radiation is a good course of treatment, the patient visits their radiation oncologist regularly to evaluate side-effects, address concerns and evaluate progress. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, radiation therapy can be used in combination with other treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.

How Radiation Therapy Works

Radiation therapy works by being administered in several ways including external x-rays, injections, and implants. With the addition of new and advanced technology, more precise targeting and less adverse effects on normal tissues are well within reach.

Radiation Therapy is commonly administered in multiple treatments or fractions for four major reasons, referred to as “The Four R’s”:

  • Repair of sub-lethal damage to normal tissues
  • Repopulation can occur due to the increase in cell division seen in both normal and tumor cells
  • Reoxygenation of tumor cells as tumors shrink
  • Reassortment of tumor cells within the cell cycle to more sensitive phases

At NCS, our radiation oncologists use radiation therapy to kill cancer cells that grow abnormally (cancer cells) by focusing intense energy on those cells. The ultimate goal is to damage a tumor cell’s DNA.

Radiation treatment has been increasingly utilized in cancer treatment for multiple factors. Improvements in radiotherapy targeting has resulted in less-severe side effects to nearby normal tissues as well as allowed for safer ability to dose escalate for improving tumor control.

In certain clinical scenarios, radiation treatment for cancer can be just as effective as surgery. Radiation serves to be a less invasive approach to treating cancer. Radiation therapy may be delivered on its own, accompanied by surgery or in conjunction with other systemic treatments (chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, and hormonal therapy).

The best treatment strategy will be determined by your care team after a full review of your diagnosis, cancer stage, and assessing your overall health status.


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