Radiation therapy as a part of cancer treatment involves the use of high energy x-rays designed to maximize the effect on cancer cells. We use a linear accelerator and 3-D treatment planning to maximize the effect on cancer cells while minimizing the effects on normal tissue. Our professional radiation therapy staff is available to meet your specific treatment needs and to offer assistance in answering your questions about this type of cancer treatment.
The radiation oncologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer with radiation. He will work closely with your other doctors in developing an overall treatment plan for your cancer. Our radiation oncologist is Joel Schwartz D.O., who trained at Upstate University Hospital in Syracruse, New York, is board certified in radiation oncology.
Consultation Before Radiation Therapy
Your first appointment at the radiation cancer treatment center will be a consultation with the radiation oncologist. He will review your medical history and records and examine you. He will determine if radiation therapy is an appropriate part of your cancer treatment program. He will talk with you and your family and explain the possible benefits of radiation treatments, the use of alternative treatments when indicated as well as potential side effects.
Simulation Before Radiation Therapy
Simulation of the actual treatment is an important step in the planning of your radiation therapy. You will be asked to lie very still on a table while the doctor and the radiation therapist measure the area(s) to be treated. They will use a CT scanner to take images that they will use when planning your radiation treatments. During this time special molds may be made to help position your body for your daily treatments. This process "simulates" the position you will be in during each of your treatments. This process will typically take 30-60 minutes to complete.
Radiation Treatment Planning
The physics department uses the information from the simulator and treatment planning, to design a treatment program especially for you. The doctor and physicist will determine how best to give the necessary amount of radiation to the tumor. If necessary, special lead "blocks" will be made to protect normal tissue.
Cancer Treatment with Radiation Therapy
You will typically be treated daily using a machine called a linear accelerator, which generates high energy x-rays and electron beams that are directed to the tumor area from outside the body. The treatment takes only a few minutes, and is NOT painful. You will not become radioactive from the treatments.
You will usually see the radiation oncologist at least weekly so that he can monitor your progress. X-rays and blood tests will be ordered periodically. Be sure to discuss any side effects of the radiation treatments.
Professional Staff to Assist You
The radiation therapists administering your daily treatment are well-trained and board certified. The physicist is a specialist in radiation physics and treatment planning. He is also responsible for quality control that ensures quality treatment. The dosimetrist assists the physicist and is responsible for making the blocks and molds.