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Radiation Oncology is a distinct medicine specialty that deals with the treatment of cancer using radiation. It is one of the three main specialties of oncology, the other two being medical and surgical oncology. The radiation therapy under Radiation Oncology can be given as a curative modality, either in combination with chemotherapy and/or surgery or alone. It may also be used to relieve a patient from symptoms with incurable cancer.
Approximately all cancer patients receive radiation therapy as a part of their treatment. However, the dosage and sittings depend upon the type, coverage and stage of cancer.
Radiation Oncologists are physicians who specialize in the treatment of a wide variety of cancers using radiation therapy.
Radiation Oncology specialists make use of the power of X-rays during the radiation therapy. High energy beams in carefully targeted and regulated doses are emitted at precise points in the body affected by cancer. The therapy destroys the genetic material (chromosomes and DNA) inside the cells that controls the mitosis of the cells. While both cancerous and normal cells are damaged in the process, the main aim behind radiation therapy is to completely destroy the mutated cells and harm healthy, normal cells as minimum as possible.
Radiation Oncologists work closely with medical and/or surgical oncologists. The main role of a Radiation Oncologist is to render radiation therapy to cancer patients in a closed protected environment.
The radiation oncology process is a series of complex steps that can be divided into five categories. These are as follows: –