Your Radiation Oncology Team

Radication oncology teams at the UW Carbone Cancer Center are comprised of a variety of qualified health professionals.
 
Radiation Oncologists
 
Radiation oncologists are the doctors who will oversee your radiation therapy treatments. These physicians work with the other members of the radiation therapy team to develop your treatment plan and ensure that each treatment is given accurately. Your radiation oncologist will also monitor your progress. Before, during and after your radiation therapy treatments, your radiation oncologist works closely with other cancer doctors, such as medical oncologists and surgeons, to make sure you are receiving the best treatments for your cancer.
 
Radiation oncologists have completed at least four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of general medical training and four years of residency or specialty training in radiation oncology. They have extensive training in cancer medicine and the safe use of radiation to treat disease.

Radiation Oncology Residents
 
Resident physicians are fully licensed physicians, working under the supervision of the attending physician. Radiation oncology residents are completing advanced specialty training. They are highly skilled in hospital medicine and provide direct supervision for less experienced junior residents who are beginning specialized training. Resident physicians work closely with your attending physician in planning and providing your care.

Radiation Oncology Nurses and Physician Assistants
 
These professionals work together with radiation oncologists and radiation therapists to care for you and your family during your radiation treatments. They will explain the possible side effects you may experience and describe how you can manage them. They will assess how you are doing throughout treatment and will help you cope with the changes you may experience. They will also provide support and counseling to you and your family.
 
Radiation Therapists
 
Radiation therapists work with radiation oncologists to administer the daily radiation treatment under the doctor’s prescription and supervision. They maintain daily records and regularly check the treatment machines to make sure they are working properly.

Radiation therapists go through a two-four year educational program following high school or college. They take a special examination to be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Dosimetrists
 
Dosimetrists carefully calculate the dose of radiation to make sure the tumor gets enough radiation. Using computers, they work to develop a number of treatment plans, working with the radiation oncologist and the medical physicist.
 
Many dosimetrists start as radiation therapists. After extensive training or special schooling, they become dosimetrists. Dosimetrists are certified by the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board.

Medical Radiation Physicists
 
Medical physicists work directly with the radiation oncologist during treatment planning and delivery. They oversee the work of the dosimetrists and help ensure that treatments are tailored for each patient. Medical physicists are responsible for developing and directing quality control programs for equipment and procedures. Their responsibility also includes making sure the equipment works properly by taking precise measurements of the radiation beam and performing other safety tests on a regular basis.

Nutritionists and Speech and Swallow Therapists
 
These health professionals will work with you to help maintain your diet during radiation therapy treatments. They will help you modify your eating plan if the side effects of treatment are affecting your appetite, will determine what you can eat, and can provide recipes, menu suggestions, and eating tips. They address dietary issues and current developments that may affect cancer treatment outcomes.

Physical Therapists
 
Physical therapists use therapeutic exercises to ensure that your body functions properly while you are undergoing treatment. These exercises are used to help manage side effects, alleviate pain, and keep you healthy.

Dentists
 
Dentists may be involved in the care of patients who are receiving radiation for oral or head and neck cancers. They will help prevent the radiation from damaging the healthy areas of your mouth and oral cavity, and may recommend that you have preventive dental work done before your radiation treatments. They may help you manage some of the side effects from your radiation treatments.