|Dr. Joshua Petit and staff treat a
patient using the TrueBeam STx
Radiation oncologists are the doctors who oversee your radiation therapy treatments. These doctors work with the other members of the radiation therapy team to create and manage your treatment plan. Your radiation oncologist will monitor your progress and adjust your treatments to make sure the radiation is hitting its target while minimizing side effects. Before, during and after your radiation therapy treatments, your radiation oncologist works closely with other cancer doctors, such as medical oncologists and surgeons, to maximize the radiation's effectiveness.
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. If they pass a special examination, they are certified by the American Board of Radiology.
Dr. Joshua Petit is board certified by the American Board of Radiology.
Radiation therapists work with radiation oncologists to carry out 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- to four-year educational program following high school or college. They take a special examination and may be certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists. Many states - including Colorado - also require radiation therapists to be licensed.
Radiation Oncology Nurses
Radiation oncology nurses work with radiation oncologists and radiation therapists to care for you and your family during your radiation treatment. They explain the possible side effects you may experience and provide helpful ways to manage them. They will assess how you are doing during treatment and help you cope with changes you may experience. Our radiation oncology nurses also provide support and counseling to you and your family.
Radiation oncology nurses are licensed registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, most with special certifications in oncology. Many registered nurses in radiation therapy have additional accreditation in oncology nursing. Advanced practice nurses, including clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners, have completed a master's degree program.
Medical Radiation Physicists
Medical physicists work directly with the radiation oncologist during treatment planning and delivery. They oversee the work of the dosimetrist and help ensure that complex treatments are properly tailored for each patient. Medical physicists also develop and direct quality control programs for the radiation equipment and procedures. Their responsibilities include making sure the equipment works properly by taking precise measurements of the radiation beam and performing other safety tests on a regular basis.
Dosimetrists carefully calculate the radiation dose to make sure the tumor target gets the right amount of radiation. Using computers, dosimetrists work to develop a number of treatment plans that can best destroy the tumor while sparing normal tissue. Since treatment plans are often very complex, dosimetrists work with the radiation oncologist and the medical physicist to choose the treatment plan that is right for you.
Many dosimetrists start as radiation therapists and then, with very intensive training, become dosimetrists. Others are graduates of one- to two-year dosimetry programs. They are certified by the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board.
Other Healthcare Professionals
You may work with a number of other healthcare professionals while undergoing radiation therapy. These specialists ensure that all of your physical and psychological needs are met during your treatment. Learn more information about other members of your cancer care support team, including social work, nutrition and patient navigation.