We found 15 providers with an interest in radiation therapy near Pinellas Park, FL.
radiation oncologists (15)?
What is Radiation Oncology?Radiation oncologists are physicians who are specially trained in the safe use of radiation to treat cancer. Usually, they will manage a patient's entire radiation treatment, from the imaging that will guide decisions, to the choices about what kind of radiation therapy to use. Radiation is one of the few substances that can kill cancer cells and even shrink tumors. It does this by damaging DNA. When DNA becomes sufficiently damaged, cells can no longer reproduce, and they stop growing and die. Cancer cells are more susceptible to radiation than healthy tissue, because they reproduce faster. So typically, cancer cells exposed to radiation will be affected faster than healthy cells will. However it's still important to protect healthy tissue as much as possible. There are three ways that radiation can be delivered to the body. It can come from outside the body, delivered by a machine in much the same way x-rays are taken. This is called external-beam radiation. Sometimes the radiation is delivered internally, which is called brachytherapy. Tiny pellets of radioactive material are placed directly onto the cancer, where they can release radiation for a period of time. Some cancers are best treated systemically, with radioactive substances that travel through the bloodstream. Radiation oncologists decide which type of radiation therapy is best, developing a treatment plan for each patient that maximizes the benefits of the radiation while minimizing the risk to any healthy tissue. Radiation oncologists may work with other kinds of physicians, such as medical oncologists or surgeons, to treat their patients. Sometimes patients are anxious about radiation therapy because it sounds dangerous. But radiation therapy won't turn you radioactive. It's safe, and so effective against many different types of cancer that it is one of the most common cancer treatments. Depending on the treatment, it may not even have noticeable side effects. Radiation oncologists can be important allies in your fight against cancer.
What is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, uses high energy rays to treat tumors or cancer. Radiation damages the DNA of cancer cells, killing them or making it impossible for them to divide and for cancer to spread. Radiation therapy can be used alone or in combination with surgery or other treatments, such as chemotherapy. It is an option for tumors that cannot be easily accessed surgically, such as those at the base of the skull, and it can be used following surgical cancer treatment to remove remaining cancerous tissue and prevent recurrence of cancer. Sometimes radiation therapy is used as a palliative treatment to shrink tumors. Rather than cure your condition, palliative treatments treat symptoms, such as pain caused by spinal tumors and problems with eating or drinking caused by esophageal tumors.
The type of therapy you receive will depend on the size, type, and location of your tumor or cancer, as well as the sensitivity of the surrounding healthy tissue, your age, and your medical history. Radiation treatment may be delivered in two ways:
- Internally, meaning radioactive material is placed inside of your body. Brachytherapy is a commonly used method of internal radiation therapy. Using catheters or needles, radioactive seeds or pellets are placed inside the body, and over the course of several weeks or a few months, the seeds will deliver radiation. Permanent brachytherapy leaves the seeds in your body permanently without causing side effects while temporary brachytherapy removes them after a treatment session.
- Externally, using a machine that aims radiation beams outside of your body. External radiation therapy is also known as external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). There are several types of EBRT, which differ in intensity and type of beams used. EBRT can be done before surgery (preoperatively), during surgery (intraoperatively), or after surgery (post-operatively).
Before you undergo radiation therapy, a team of medical professionals, including a radiation oncologist, will work with you to determine a treatment plan. This will involve mapping the area around the tumor or cancer, determining proper positioning for treatment delivery, and determining dosage. Treatment delivery will occur in sessions over the course of several weeks or months, depending on the type and size of cancer and its location in the body, among other factors.
Although radiation therapy aims to target only cancerous cells, damage to normal healthy cells may occur. You might experience side effects from radiation during treatment or in the months and years following it. They are dependent on the areas treated and may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, skin irritation, hair loss, memory loss, and infertility. Your oncologist will take into account the amount of radiation that different areas of your body can receive safely while determining your treatment plan.