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Radiation Oncology

 201-541-5900   |    cancer@holyname.org

Overview

Holy Name Medical Center offers the latest advances – "sometimes among the first worldwide" – in radiation therapy, using state-of-the-art technology to precisely target cancer cells while better protecting healthy tissue. Penetrating beams of high-energy radiation damage the genetic material in cancer cells, hindering the cells' ability to continue growing and duplicating. Radiation treatment may be used solely or in concert with surgery and/or chemotherapy to halt the progression of the disease. Often, radiation can kill all cancer cells, thereby shrinking or eliminating tumors.


Radiation therapies available at Holy Name include:

  • Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - Advanced technology that delivers radiation is equipped with special imaging to allow physicians to track tumors at the time radiation is being delivered. This improves the precision and accuracy of the treatment delivery, and enables a higher dose of radiation to be used on the tumor. IGRT is often used in areas of the body prone to movement such as the lungs, liver and prostate gland as well as for tumors near critical organs and tissues.

  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) - This high-precision type of treatment uses multiple small beams of varying intensity radiation to precisely target tumors. Physicians can alter the intensity and shape of the radiation beams during treatment to deliver higher doses to the tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.

    • Volumetric Arc Therapy (VMAT) - An advanced form of IMRT, this treatment delivers a dose of radiation to the entire tumor as it rotates in a 360-degree rotation, typically in less than two minutes.

  • Respiratory-gating - Respiratory gating involves the use of technology to adjust for tumor movements caused by a patient's breathing. This movement affects lung and upper abdominal tumors, making it difficult for physicians to focus radiation beams only at the cancer cells without affecting healthy tissue. With respiratory gating, the radiation beam is targeted in real time, and only delivers radiation to the tumor when it is exactly in the appropriate spot, providing far more effective treatment.

  • High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy - This type of treatment delivers radiation internally, directly into the cancerous area. Radioactive material, or a "seed" is placed in the body for a short period, usually less than 20 minutes, during one or two sessions for one to several days.

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery for spinal, lung or brain lesions - This type of treatment delivers radiation internally, directly into the cancerous area. Radioactive material, or a "seed" is placed in the body for a short period, usually less than 20 minutes, during one or two sessions for one to several days.

  • Prone-Breast Radiation Therapy - Radiation is administered to the patient in the prone position, on her stomach with the breast hanging away from the body. This reduces radiation exposure to surrounding organs like the heart and lungs and lowers the risk of complications.

  • Canadian Fractionation - This radiation treatment is used for some women with breast cancer. A higher dose of radiation is delivered per session over a shorter period of time compared with the standard course. Studies have shown patients have had comparable results to those who had longer radiation treatment courses.