Meet your radiology team
Radiology is a complex process that demands a wide range of expertise. To ensure that you receive the most comprehensive care, we assign each radiology patient a team of specifically-equipped medical experts to care for you in every step of the process.
- Radiation oncologist: the physician responsible for assessing your condition and designing a treatment plan, which is customized to your individual diagnosis and specific clinical needs
- Radiation physicist/dosimetrist: the individual who works with the radiation oncologist to ensure the safe and correct use of radiation treatments
- Radiation therapist: the person responsible for administering your daily treatments
- Radiation nurse/medical assistants: staff who provide educational information and care throughout the course of your treatment
Is radiation right for you?
Radiation is a serious treatment and Optum will work with you to make sure that the benefits for your quality of life always outnumber the risks.
If you and your doctor are considering radiation, we’ll start with an initial consultation to make sure radiation is a good choice for you, and deliver a personalized approach from the beginning.
During your consult, your radiation oncologist will:
- Review your records with you (medical history, biopsy results, surgical reports and scans)
- Conduct a regular physical examination
- Answer any questions you have
- Provide direction for the type of radiation treatment to best address your condition
If your radiation oncologist believes radiation is the best treatment option, your team will guide you through the following steps:
- Simulation: This is a planning session during which the radiation oncologist maps out the area that requires treatment and uses a special x-ray machine to position the angles of radiation accurately.
- Treatment planning: The team prepares an individualized treatment plan for every patient. The plan is designed to optimize the radiation dose to the affected sites and minimize the impact on surrounding tissue.
- Treatment: Your treatments will be scheduled at the same time each day and can last from five to 10 minutes. If side effects occur, your physician will discuss how to manage and relieve these symptoms.
- Completion: After the treatment cycle, you will make an appointment to see your physician. This is usually within a month after treatment is complete.
Radiation treatment works by generating and targeting high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons to destroy or damage cancer cells. Unlike your body’s regular cells, cancer cells divide more quickly, which makes them more vulnerable to damage from radiation. While dividing, radiation breaks their DNA and gives normal, healthy cells a chance to recover.
Radiation therapy techniques vary depending on many factors, such as the severity and location of your condition.
- Conventional radiation treatments (often referred to as three-dimensional or 3D conformal radiotherapy) uses pre-treatment computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to shape the radiation beams to match the shape of the tumor and avoid healthy tissue.
- Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) – a technique during which doctors vary (or modulate) the amount of radiation that is sent to different parts of your tumor while shaping the beam to precisely match the shape, size and position of the tumor.
- Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) – uses advanced imaging that allows the clinical team to visualize and verify the exact position of your tumor—both prior to and during your treatment.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) – a non-invasive, faster treatment protocol that uses more powerful beams to treat tumors in the brain over one to five sessions.
- Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) – a technique similar to SRS used to treat tumors elsewhere in the body.
Medical care and help
Our radiation oncology services are available in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Contact us if you have any questions.