DM - Radiation Oncology (Head & Neck and Neuro)

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Radiation oncology is a therapy treatment that kills cancer cells using a minimally invasive technique like X rays. .

Radiation oncology is a therapy treatment that kills cancer cells using a minimally invasive technique like X rays. The treatment can be of two types: Internal or External. In the case of internal radiation treatment, radioactive seeds or catheters are used to target the active source of the affected area. In an external treatment regimen, a linear accelerator is used to produce high energy beams that target the source. For head and neck cancer, generally, external beam radiation is used as it produces minimum damage to the surrounding tissues. Head, neck and neuro cancer is consists of tumours that generate from many sources. These include the salivary gland, aerodigestive tract, thyroid gland, frontal sinus and others. The optimum amount of radiation therapy depends upon the severity and on the source of the tumours. In general, radiotherapy has provided excellent control but in some cases complications are severe. Due to post-treatment complications like lymphedema, fibrosis, oral cavity, gingiva and many more it has become vital for radiation oncologists to be very precise in the treatment. Expertise and a high level of precision are required to alleviate the post-treatment complications. Various research papers and studies are in progress for the advancement of this speciality. Ultra-modern settings have greatly enhanced the practice of radiation oncologists. Even the opportunities for specialists are diversifying too.

DM in radiation head, neck and neuro cancer radiation therapy is designed to help healthcare specialists alleviate the life-threatening cancer cells and to delay their progression. It is a thoroughly guided and supervised course. This requires the expertise of students in concepts like general principles of oncology, clinical radiobiology, radiation physics, pathology and radiation pathology, head and neck cancer biotherapeutics, head and neck cancer screening, epidemiology of head and neck cancer, the pathogenesis of cancer, clinical radiotherapy and others. The structure of the course is to provide both the knowledge of didactic lectures and the experience of practical projects. The training program will focus on frequently performed complex therapeutic procedures. These include intensity-modulated radiation therapy; advanced imaging techniques like MRI, PET; Stereotactic radiotherapy for neck and head cancer; brachytherapy treatment for example low dose brachytherapy and high dose brachytherapy; intraoral cone for the floor of mouth; proton therapy and many other scientific techniques. Thus the program enables the students to get the necessary proficiency in understanding the basic principles and diagnosis as well as management of medical emergencies, along with administration of head and neck cancer-causing factors using highly advanced techniques and medical tests. The curriculum also ensures the participation of students in treatment planning sessions, logbook clinical audit, seminars, journal clubs, case conferences, viva, grand round presentations and practical exposure of first-hand knowledge and theories of teachings.  It is expected that during the course the students will gain expertise in many aspects of radiation oncology and will be able to cater to the needs of the patient in alliance with the various national health policies like the national cancer control programme and also in compliance with professional ethical methods. Overall, the program develops the students for a highly qualified job through both intensive didactic lectures and clinical activity in all parts of radiation oncology.

The course can be taken by the candidates who have completed MD or DNB in Medicine, MD or DNB in Paediatrics, MD or DNB in Radiotherapy from a recognized university by Medical Council of India (MCI). The course can take 2 years to get completed. A career in this field is very promising as one can seek employment in sectors like government hospitals, private clinics, research centres, laboratories, medical universities and many more. The job roles offered are consultant, oncologist, professor, radiotherapy specialists, researcher, and many others depending upon the interest of the student, he/she can even apply for higher studies.