When you have radiation therapy at Riverside, your care will be coordinated by a highly-skilled medical team. Your team will evaluate your cancer, develop a treatment plan and make sure that each treatment is given safely and accurately.
Every member of your team has specialized education and training, so that they can perform a specific role. Here is an overview of the professionals on your team:
A radiation oncologist has the specialized training and expertise needed to prescribe and deliver radiation therapy treatments. He or she will review your medical records, develop the best course of treatment, oversee your radiation therapy and adjust the treatment as necessary to make sure the radiation is hitting the target with minimum side effects.
Radiation oncology nurse
Radiation oncology nurses are specially trained in radiation therapy and work closely with your radiation oncologist. Part of their role is to assess how you are doing and to help you cope with changes throughout your treatment. They will explain and help you to manage any side effects. Your oncology nurse can provide support and information to your family.
A dosimetrist has extensive training in physics in addition to training in radiation therapy. Under the direction of the radiation oncologist, the dosimetrist is responsible for calculating the precise doses of radiation that you will be receiving.
Medical physicists oversee the work of the dosimetrist and help ensure that complex radiation treatments are individualized for each patient. Their responsibility also includes monitoring the performance of the treatment machines. In addition, the medical physicist is responsible for radiation safety.
The radiation therapist delivers your treatment at each radiation session under the supervision of the radiation oncologist. The therapist maintains your treatment records, can answer questions about the treatment and regularly provides quality checks on the radiation-producing machines to assure proper operation.
A dietician is a health professional with specialized training in nutrition. Your dietitian provides you with information about a balanced diet and foods that may help improve your energy and overall well-being.
Patients receiving radiation therapy or other treatments for lung, prostate or breast cancer can also take advantage of Riverside's free Patient Navigation program. Patient navigators have the experience and training to help guide patients and their families through the tests, diagnosis, and treatment that are part of the cancer care experience. Along with helping you with issues directly related to your health, they can also help with concerns about insurance, transportation and a variety of support services.