Radiation oncology jobs are available for doctors, physicists and therapists. Radiation oncology jobs involve cancer treatment through the use of radiation therapy. The treatment is often administered in alongside chemotherapy or surgery.
Doctors are referred to as radiation oncologists. Physicists in this field, working to design and engineer treatment systems are more specifically named medical physicists or radiation physicists. The therapists who calculate the doses of radiation therapy are called dosimetrists. A radiation therapist administers the actual treatment.
Patients reach the radiation oncologist through other oncology specialists. Patients may suffer from a range of different cancers that radiation oncologists treat. Radiation oncologists act as consultants to physicians and prescribe appropriate treatment through radiation therapy. The radiation treatments work by damaging cancer and healthy cells alike. Only healthy cells are able to repair and reproduce themselves, but the cancer cells cannot reproduce and die.
Radiation oncology jobs for medical physicists can be found in the healthcare setting, medical research and in hospital engineering. These professionals use their understanding of physics to apply technical expertise to diagnostic radiology, radiotherapy, non-ionizing radiation and nuclear medicine. They will plan radiation treatments through medical imaging, giving radiation oncologists vital information regarding the patient’s illness.
Medical physicists may also design installations of radiation equipment for hospitals and work to test the equipment and be sure it functions properly. They will also ensure proper precautions are taken against the hazards of radiation. Medical physicists may also design new medical equipment in the medical research field.
Dosimetry is a field in radiation oncology jobs that requires a broad understanding of cancer patient care. Dosimietrists work closely with a medical physicist and the radiation oncologist to provide the proper dosage of radiation therapy to a cancer patient. Dosimetrists may also work closely with medical physicists in radiation protection, machine calibration and quality checks on radiation oncology equipment.
Dosimetrists must be able to calculate the correct dosage and delivery location for the radiation therapy. The prescribed dose and patient records must be examined and calculations are verified through a system prepared by the medical physicist. This requires a thorough understanding of radiobiology, physics and human anatomy.
Radiation oncology jobs also include radiation therapists who administer treatment by positioning the patient and beaming radiation to a pinpointed location on the body. The equipment used by the radiation therapist is called the linear accelerator. The radiation therapist will also maintain the patient’s treatment record and report to the radiation oncologist.