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Radiation oncology is a subspecialty practice focused on the use of therapeutic radiological sources to treat cancer in both adults and children. Radiation oncologists treat a wide variety of cancers, including those arising from practically any area of the body. Radiation is often delivered as the primary form of treatment as a curative modality for tumors of the prostate, lung, brain, and gastrointestinal and gynecologic tracts. The use of radiation pioneered the concept of “organ preservation” for tumors of the head and neck, allowing patients to avoid disfiguring surgery and preserve function while optimizing cure. Additionally, radiation can also be delivered to help improve quality of life for patients seeking palliation.

Most radiation treatments are delivered from a high-energy x-ray source termed a linear accelerator which can be programmed and configured to produce an external beam, although radiation oncologists also do procedures where they implant radioactive elements directly into the body. Training is 4 years long and follows a 1-year internship – most residents do their internships in internal medicine or surgery. For more about the specialty, find out more in “A Day in the Life of Dr. Allen Chen." 

Visiting Clerkships

The opportunity to do a 2–4-week clinical rotation is available for UCI medical students. Visiting students interested in rotating at UCI for a 4-week clinical clerkship are also welcome. Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For more information or questions, please reach out to our program coordinator, Elizabeth Won.