Will I need a radiation oncology consultation if I've already had chemo?
I have cancer and have undergone chemotherapy twice. Why do I need a radiation oncology consultation as well?
Radiation oncology is a special field of medicine that treats cancer patients in a different way than chemotherapy. Some patients need radiotherapy, some need chemotherapy, and many need both. The purpose of radiation therapy is to focus on killing cancer cells in a specific area of the body. Radiation therapy often involves the patient sitting under a very focused beam of radiation that travels through the body and attacks cancer cells along with way. The radiation often kills these cancer cells and makes the tumor smaller. Radiation therapy may be designed to cure a cancer and sometimes it is used to provide relief from symptoms that occur when a tumor becomes too big and presses on other structures in the body. The advantage of radiation therapy is that is does not effect the rest of you body (like chemotherapy), just the area under the beam. The disadvantages of it are that you have to come back every day for sometimes a month, and it only kills the cancer in one place. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with oncologist, or radiation oncologist, whoever you prefer. This doctor will explain the benefits and side effects of radiation therapy in your particular situation with your type of cancer. Good luck with your treatments.