The radiology team is led by one or more radiologists. Radiologists are responsible for interpreting the results of exams, performing certain procedures, conferring and consulting with other physicians in other specialties, and ensuring the overall quality performance of the entire team.
Radiology has become highly specialized, as have most other medical and surgical specialties. The current trend is for radiologists to become specialized in a particular discipline, such as cardiology (the study and treatment of the heart) or neurology (the study and treatment of the brain and nervous system).
Nuclear medicine is a specialized area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials to examine organ function and structure. This branch of radiology is often used to help diagnose and treat abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease, such as thyroid cancer.
External Beam Therapy
External beam therapy is a type of therapeutic radiology that is delivered externally from a machine directed to the cancer inside the patient. Examples of external beam therapy machines include linear accelerators, cobalt machines, or orthovoltage X-ray machines.
Brachytherapy is radiation treatment that is given inside the patient, as close to the cancer as possible. The radiation is delivered to the body site with radioactive isotopes inside wires, seeds, or rods. These devices are called implants.
Radiosurgery uses focused beams of radiation to treat cancerous tissues without a surgical incision or opening. The treatment is called "surgery" because creates a result similar to an actual surgical procedure.
Advances in Therapeutic Radiology
One newer therapy combines radiation and chemotherapy, because in some cases, radiation may improve the effects of chemotherapy, and vice versa. Another therapy uses external beam radiation during surgery to treat cancerous tumors or certain other forms of cancer.