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What is a radiation oncologist?

A radiation oncologist has the specialized training and expertise needed to prescribe and deliver radiation therapy treatments. He or she will review your medical records, develop the best course of treatment, oversee your radiation therapy and adjust the treatment as necessary to make sure the radiation is hitting the target with minimum side effects.

A radiation oncologist treats cancer patients using radiation.

A radiation oncologist treats cancer using radiation treatments. Radiation can be used to treat, specifically, the breast, colon, lung, or whatever area needs to be treated. The treatments are very precise to one part of the body.

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A radiation oncologist administers radiation to the breast, chest wall, or lymph node basins. This is recommended for all patients after lumpectomy. Radiation treatments involve lying on a table, and radiation beams are directed at the breast and chest wall. It doesn’t hurt, and each treatment lasts 15-20 minutes. Treatments are administered Monday through Friday for approximately 6 weeks. Patients usually feel well during radiation, and the side effects are usually skin burns (similar to sun burns) as well as hardening of the breast tissue. Some patients are candidates for shorter courses of radiation or partial breast radiation. Partial breast radiation is administered through an external catheter, and has the advantages of condensing the treatment time to 5 days while minimizing effects of radiation to other organs. Your treatment team will work together to determine the type of radiation best suited to your cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.