A radiation oncologist is a specialist physician who uses ionizing radiation (such as megavoltage X-rays or radionuclides) in the treatment of cancer. Radiation oncology is one of the three primary specialties, the other two being surgical and medical oncology, involved in the treatment of cancer.
Radiation can be given as a curative modality, either alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. It may also be used palliatively, to relieve symptoms in patients with incurable cancers. A radiation oncologist may also use radiation to treat some benign diseases and benign tumors.
In some countries (not the United States), radiotherapy and chemotherapy are controlled by a single oncologist who is a “clinical oncologist”. Radiation oncologists work closely with other physicians such as surgical oncologists, interventional radiologists, internal medicine subspecialists, and medical oncologists, as well as medical physicists and technicians as part of the multi-disciplinary cancer team.
Radiotherapy (also known as radiation therapy) has two equally important goals: to control the growth of the tumor and to do so while minimizing exposure to the surrounding normal, healthy tissue. Used typically as a curative treatment, either alone or in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy, the aim of radiation therapy has always been to eradicate a patient’s cancer. Radiotherapy uses high-energy radiation, usually x-rays, to damage cancer cells and treat tumors in the breast, prostate, head and neck, lung and anywhere in the body where radiation treatment is indicated. Advances in radiotherapy have been made in the past two decades, as improvements in imaging modalities, powerful computers and software and delivery systems have enabled technologies such as Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT), Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT) and Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT) to be used in routine clinical practice.
The high precision and power possible with Varian systems helps evolve radiotherapy and expand patient treatment options. Varian radiotherapy systems help provide more paths to treatment and more paths to growth.
Such versatility is why Varian radiotherapy systems including the TrueBeam™ system, Trilogy™ system and the Clinac® series, have been adopted by top clinics around the world. As cancer treatments continue to advance, Varian Medical Systems can help position your clinic at the forefront of the global fight against cancer.