Radiation Oncology

Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncology is an integral part of the comprehensive cancer care that we provide at MHP Oncology & Hematology. The center includes an advanced radiation therapy program that is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Program.

Radiation therapy is a form of cancer treatment that uses radiation (strong beams of energy) to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors and alleviate symptoms. Radiation therapy, including intensity-modulated radiotherapy, may be used in conjunction with surgery or chemotherapy to treat many different types and stages of cancer.

These innovative technologies require a team of dedicated physicists and other supporting staff that constantly work behind the scenes. Our team performs rigorous quality assurance checks so that you get the full benefits of our advanced technology.

Every physician of the Radiation Oncology department is a board-certified radiation oncologist who works cohesively with a wonderful team of experts. This friendly, compassionate team consists of a nurse, dosimetrist, two radiation therapists, a dietitian, and an office coordinator.

About Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells and help you in your fight against cancer. Radiation destroys cancer cells gradually, over time. The goal of therapy is to focus on and kill as many cancer cells as possible. Radiation can also damage or kill some of the normal cells that are closest to the tumor. Damaged normal cells can repair themselves, often within a few days.

Each treatment usually takes 10 to 30 minutes. You may need to change into a hospital gown. The radiation therapist positions you on the treatment table, then leaves the room. During treatment, lie as still as you can and breathe normally. You will hear noises coming from the machine. You can talk to the radiation therapist, who watches you from the control room on a TV monitor. After treatment, the therapist will help you off the table. You can then get dressed and go back to your normal activities.

Preparation Required Before Procedure

Your radiation therapy team uses a special machine called a simulator to map out your treatment. The simulator is an X-ray or CT (computerized tomography) scan machine. This machine mimics the actual radiation equipment. Laser lights act as guides to help position your body accurately. During this visit:

  • The radiation beam is shaped to hit cancer cells and avoid as many normal cells as possible.
  • The best position for your body is determined. Notes are made in your chart so you’ll be placed the same way each time.
  • Special devices may be used to keep your body correctly positioned and still during treatment. These may include molds, masks, rests, and blocks.
  • Ink marks are made on your skin over the spot to be treated. Tiny permanent tattoos may also be used. The marks act as a target for the treatment to stay at the exact same place each time.
  • Markers, such as metal balls or wires, may be placed on or in your body. These work with the X-rays to position your body. The markers are removed when the visit is over.

To learn more about our radiation oncology program, please call us at 317.421.1828.