There are many key players involved in using radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer including: radiation oncologists, physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and nurses. Working in collaboration with one another a plan of action is developed that is unique to each and every individuals cancer and treatment goals. Each player being a central piece in ensuring that the plan for treating the cancer runs smoothly, patient care needs are exceeded and that end treatment goals are met.
A radiation oncologist is the physician in charge of treatment that has completed their residency specializing in radiation oncology. They control the role that radiation therapy will play for the patient. From patient care, treatment planning through to evaluating the patient's response to treatment the radiation oncologist is accountable.
Both physicists and dosimetrists aid the radiation oncologist in treating the patient. These individuals are the ones that are depended on to create immobilization devices that will hold patients in one position throughout radiation treatment. This ensures that the patient is still and the beams of radiation from the linear accelerator machine can narrow in on the cancerous tumors instead of the healthy tissues surrounding the area. They are also responsible for generating computer plans, calculating radiation doses and carry out a system of checks and balances to ensure that treatment is accurate.
The radiation therapists are in charge of daily treatments and for the simulation procedures. Every day radiation therapists work closely with patients to assist in care including treatment positioning, making sure the radiation field is on target and delivering treatment. Radiation therapists work closely with radiation oncologists to determine changes that need to be made before the next treatment.
Nurses carry a great deal of responsibility when it comes to cancer treatment. They are the individuals that are responsible for the patients care before, during and after treatment. Nurses assist radiation oncologists with everything from coordinating appointments, keeping up to date on client's symptoms relating to their treatment as well as making referrals for social services as needed. Nurses are the people that work to keep not only the patient but also their families up to date on treatments, side effects, medications and plans for long-term. Nurses are the main support staff for the patient.
Many different professionals are needed to provide radiation therapy effectively to patients. There is not one job more important than the next when it comes to ensuring that patients are receiving adequate care and treatment.
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