Radiation Oncology is the use of radiation to treat cancer and some closely allied diseases to that, but mainly cancer. When we are talking about if this is something we commonly do, the answer is most certainly yes. About three quarters of cancer patients will receive radiation therapy at sometime during the course of their illness either for curative intent or for palliation, which is the treatment of symptoms, not intended for curative purposes, symptoms like pain.
We give radiation in several different ways, but the most common way is just like having an X-ray where the patient lays on a table under a machine called a Linear Accelerator which is just a big electronic gadget that makes high energy X-rays. Treatments take a couple of minutes and the radiation is directed at various parts of the body as we specify. The actual treatments take a couple of minutes. They are very brief. It takes longer to get the patient in the room, on the table, in the right position than it does to treat them.