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Radiation Cancer Treatment

Radiation therapy

Radiation (radiotherapy) is a form of cancer treatment that utilizes high doses of radiation to shrink tumors or to destroy cancer cells. Radiation can also be used as a way to ease cancer symptoms. This is also known as palliative radiation treatment. Radiation treatment can be used alone or with other treatments such as chemotherapy, hormones, targeted therapy, or surgery.

At the CMH-OHSU Collaborative, you will receive the same advanced cancer care and services, using the same state-of-the-art equipment and technologies provided by OHSU, without traveling long distances. Being able to fit radiation therapy into daily life means that you can maintain a better quality of life throughout your cancer treatment.

Radiation team

  • Radiation oncologist: This provider is a specialist medical doctor with training in the use of radiation therapy. This provider will oversee your radiation treatment plan and ensure the treatment is safe and accurate.
  • Radiation therapists: This is the person you will see on a daily basis during your radiation treatment. They work closely with the Radiation Oncologist and other team members to deliver the radiation therapy. They assist in administering the daily treatment. A radiation therapist is specially trained to operate the treatment machines.
  • Dosimetrists: Develops each patient's custom radiation therapy plan to best target the cancer.
  • Radiation physicists: The physicists works directly with the team in assisting with the planning of radiation treatments. They ensure quality and accurate radiation therapy is given.
  • Radiation medical assistant: The medical assistance supports the radiation team and patient to ensure quality care.
  • Oncology social worker: Acts as patient's advocate and emotional support; connects patient with community support.
  • Registered dietitians: Works with patients to prevent and treat malnutrition, to minimize side effects from treatment, and to improve nutrition in survivorship.

Radiation therapy side effects

With any treatment it is important to note that not everyone will react in the same way. Depending on the site that is being treated by radiotherapy will result in different side effects. Some people have quite a few side effects, while others do not have any. There can be both early and late side effects of radiation therapy. Common early side effects are fatigue and skin problems. Late side effects will depend on the area that is treated.

Most common side effects:

  • Fatigue is a common side effect of radiation therapy. Fatigue is feeling tired, worn out, and exhausted. Fatigue can come on slowly or all at once.
  • Skin problems depending on the site you are being treated can look red, irritated, or sunburned. This can change as you progress throughout your treatment. Please notify your radiation team if you are experiencing this side effect.
  • Other side effects will be dependent on the part of body that is being treated.

Here are great resources to look at side effects that you may expect for the part of your body that is being treated: and