About radiation oncology and radiation therapy
This page provides information on all aspects of radiation oncology
Radiation oncology is the study and discipline of treating malignant disease with radiation. The treatment is referred to as radiotherapy or radiation therapy.
Radiotherapy is a well established treatment which has advanced significantly over recent decades, and offers clear benefits to patients in terms of organ preservation, quality of life, effective palliation of symptoms and survival rates in a number of forms of malignant disease.
Radiotherapy is one of the main treatments for cancer, along with surgery and chemotherapy (provided by medical oncologists). It involves the use of ionising radiation (eg, from x-rays, electron beams or gamma rays) to destroy tumour cells. As a curative method, it may be the primary technique or as a therapy used in conjunction with another form of treatment (eg following surgery). It is also useful in palliative care.
Radiotherapy is distinguished by a number of features, including:
- The need for a large team of professionals, including radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, medical physicists and engineers. Other professions such as oncology nurses may also be involved;
- The length of a course of treatment, usually requiring repeated daily doses (or "fractions") delivered over a number of weeks at a purpose-built facility; and
- A reliance on expensive equipment. Establishing a basic radiation oncology facility with two linear accelerators can cost $8 million to $12 million for equipment alone, though capital costs are not the majority of the costs per service, because of the lifespan of the equipment.
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Information about Radiation Oncology and Radiation Therapy Services
Health Program Grants
Radiation Oncology Inquiry
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