What Is Radiation Therapy? - Video

Radiation Therapy, also known as radiation oncology or radiotherapy, is a type of cancer treatment. People who study Radiation Therapy often go on to become radiation therapists.

An Overview

Radiation Therapy is a common cancer treatment method. It is often used alone or in conjunction with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgery. People who administer Radiation Therapy are known as radiation therapists.

Radiation therapists, or radiation oncologists as they are sometimes called, work side by side with physicians specializing in therapeutic radiology. Together these professionals pinpoint tumors and determine how much radiation a patient needs.

Although a physician is involved through every step of Radiation Therapy, it is the therapist who is responsible for administering the prescribed dose of radiation to the patient. To administer Radiation Therapy, therapists use a special machine known as a linear accelerator. This machine projects high-energy x-rays at the cancerous tumor. Before administering treatment, therapists must make sure that the radiation is focused on the correct place and that the patient is not exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.

Careers in Radiation Therapy

Most radiation therapists work in hospitals, may also find work in physician's offices, cancer treatment centers and outpatient care centers. Regardless of location, this occupation can be very stressful, particularly for therapists who work directly with cancer patients. It is very important for therapists to maintain a positive attitude while on the job. Patients often look to their therapist for emotional support during treatment. And while this part of the job can be quite difficult, it can also be very rewarding.

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