What is cancer?
Cancer occurs when cells become abnormal and keep multiplying without control or order. Cells normally divide to produce more cells only when the body needs them. If a cell divides when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms. This is called a tumor.
Malignant (cancerous) tumors are made up of cancer cells. These cells can invade nearby tissue and organs. Cancer cells can break away from the tumor and enter the blood stream. This is how cancer spreads from the original tumor and forms new tumors in other areas of the body.
How is cancer treated?
Cancer can be treated in many ways. The four most common methods are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. These methods may be used separately or together. Your doctors will recommend which treatments are best for you.
What is radiation therapy?
Imagine brief, painless beams of invisible x-rays that can stop the growth of cancer cells. That’s exactly what radiation therapy does.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to treat cancer. Radiation therapy is able to kill cancer cells while causing minimal harm to normal cells.
You are not alone. Half of all people with cancer are treated with radiation. It is proven to be safe and effective for treating many types of cancer.
What is a radiation oncologist?
A radiation oncologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
A highly skilled team of professionals will care for you during your treatment including oncology nurses, radiation therapists, a medical physicist and a dosimetrist.
Your radiation therapy team will meet regularly to discuss your progress and review your treatment plan.
What is a radiation therapist?
A person with special training who works with the equipment that delivers the radiation.
What is a dosimetrist?
A person who plans and calculates the proper radiation dose for treatment.
What is a linear accelerator?
A machine that creates high-energy radiation to treat cancers using electricity to form a beam of fast-moving subatomic particles.