How To Choose A Radiation Oncologist
A radiation oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation (radiotherapy).
When considering who to choose as your radiation oncologist, it is preferable to find a doctor who:
- Is Board Certified as a radiation oncologist. Board certification indicates that a particular doctor has completed education and experience requirements, and meets ethical standards.
- Has a large amount of recent experience with your particular situation.
- Works with a medical facility (generally a hospital) that is top quality that has:
- Up-to-date radiation equipment
- A CT scanner available
- A physicist on staff to handle problems that might arise with the equipment.
- As a general matter, you don't have to dig into the quality of a facility if it is an NCI designated comprehensive cancer center or a teaching hospital in an urban area. (You can locate NCI comprehensive cancer centers by clicking here.)
- Is a person you feel comfortable with. As a general matter, radiologists tend to be very focused and more interested in the technology than in the human or emotional aspects of their patients. However, there are doctors who care more about the human aspects. If this is important to you, look for such a doctor.
Find out whether the doctor will personally supervise your treatment or will technicians handle the daily routine. If the latter is the case, expect that your radiation oncologist will talk with you and examine you at least once a week during the course of treatment. If he or she doesn't, find another doctor.
For information about how to locate and choose: