Your Guide to Radiation Treatment for Cancer

Glossary


CT Scan (Computed Tomography Scan)

A series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body taken from different angles. The pictures are created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine.

Dosimetrist

A specially trained professional who determines the proper radiation dose for treatment.

Medical Physicist

An expert who works with the dosimetrist and the radiation oncologist to measure the precision of your treatment plan, and who calculates the best angles to treat your tumor. The medical physicist also runs frequent safety checks and makes sure that the equipment is working properly.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, the spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones.

Neurosurgeon

A physician trained in surgery of the nervous system and who specializes in surgery on the brain and other parts of the nervous system.

PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography Scan)

A procedure in which a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein, and a scanner is used to make detailed, computerized pictures of areas inside the body where the glucose is used. Because cancer cells often use more glucose than normal cells, the pictures can be used to find cancer cells in the body.

Radiation Oncologist

A doctor who specializes in the treatment of cancer patients using radiation therapy as the main modality of treatment.

Radiation Oncology Nurse

This healthcare professional works with the radiation team to care for patients during treatment. The radiation oncology nurse plays a key role in educating the patient about what to expect during treatment and how to manage side effects, and may also provide support and counseling.

Radiation Therapist

A specially trained individual who operates the linear accelerator which administers radiation treatments to patients.

Thoracic Pulmonologist

A medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of the lungs and respiratory system.