Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation, in the form of waves or particles, to destroy cancer cells by damaging their DNA. Because radiation can harm healthy cells, treatment must be carefully planned and precisely conducted to minimize side effects.
Radiation therapy may be given before, during, or after other therapies in your treatment plan. It may be used alone or with other treatments to destroy cancer cells, shrink tumors, prevent recurrence and relieve symptoms caused by the cancer, such as pain.
The Radiation Medicine team plans your treatment carefully choosing:
- The type of therapy
- The dose of energy to be delivered (how much, over how many treatments)
- The area to be radiated
Radiation therapies include:
- External radiation - delivered by a machine outside the body
- Internal radiation - delivered by a type of radioactive material (seeds, beads, wires or other substances) placed within the body near the cancer cells
The People Involved in Patient Care
Our board-certified medical physicists are an important part of our multidisciplinary Radiation Medicine team, designing and maintaining the quality assurance of every individual treatment plan. They ensure that information has been correctly transferred to the machine, that the plan agrees with the physician’s prescription, and that all information is consistent, understandable and well-documented. They also contribute to the development of therapeutic techniques and collaborate with team members to design treatment plans.
Radiation oncologists are physicians who are responsible for the medically appropriate and technically correct radiation treatment of patients with cancer. All of our radiation oncologists are board-certified in therapeutic radiology by the American Board of Radiology, licensed by the New York State Department of Health, and comply with the American College of Radiology standards of care.
Medical dosimetrists are professionals who design radiation treatment plans specific to each cancer patient’s prescription as determined by the radiation oncologist. This is done with state-of-the-art 3-dimensional graphics and patient imaging collaboration with other radiation oncology professionals.
Radiation therapists plan and deliver the prescribed course of radiation therapy. Roswell Park has 15 full-time board-certified radiation therapists.