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Radiation oncology is the field of cancer treatment that involves the administration of therapeutic radiation, essentially high-energy waves or streams of particles configured into specific doses.
High-dose but carefully monitored and measured radiation therapy kills cancer cells with minimal or no effect on surrounding healthy tissue and is used to treat many kinds of cancer. According to the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), three cancers – breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer – make up 56 percent of all patients receiving radiation therapy. ASTRO also points out that at least 75 percent of patients are treated with the intent to cure cancer, rather than control the growth or relieve symptoms like pain.
Radiation oncologists are cancer specialists who focus on treating the disease with radiation therapy, and they are a critical part of a multidisciplinary team that cares for patients at Dignity Health. Along with medical oncologists, other medical specialists, nurses, technologists and other support staff at Dignity Health, radiation oncologists are highly trained and often acclaimed by other health care professionals and medical organizations. The radiation oncology medical director at Dignity Health, Subhaker Mutyala, MD, brings a wealth of experience to his work here. Click here to meet the radiation oncology physician team.
The philosophy of the radiation oncology department at Dignity Health is simple: patients will receive the highest quality of care while also receiving the highest level of compassion, as we treat the cancer together. Our goal is to help you get better. We will also try to provide answers to all of your questions about your treatment.
At Dignity Health, patients may be treated with one of several radiation modalities, or therapeutic methods, using advanced technologies depending on what their radiation oncologist prescribes. Whichever treatment is recommended, you will not receive your first radiation therapy treatment at your first visit. At that visit or possibly a subsequent visit, you will have a CT scan and measurements will be taken so that the therapy dosages and intensities can be precisely crafted to your needs. At your following visit, you will begin to undergo your treatment.
Here is information from experts at Dignity Health and the National Cancer Institute about the different types of radiation treatments available:
”Brachytherapy is a way to treat cancer from the inside out,” said Subhaker Mutyala, MD, a radiation oncologist and medical director of radiation oncology at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Patients benefit from this type of treatment because the high-energy waves used in radiation therapy are able to kill fast-growing cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.
True Beam™ Linear Accelerator is the tool that serves as the foundation for several different types of non-invasive radiation therapy. A linear accelerator is a large machine that aims radiation at the cancer. The machine moves around you without touching you and doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t make you radioactive and the radiation can’t be seen, felt, or smelled. The linear accelerator is used with these forms of treatment:
Questions to ask your radiation oncologist about your treatment:
For more information about radiation oncology, or to make an appointment, call 602.406.8222.