Radiation Therapies For Cancer

The latest in effective, research-backed treatments

Radiation Therapies at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Plymouth

At the Jordan Hospital Club Cancer Center, we offer state-of-the-art radiation therapy in our Radiation Oncology Center. Our team of physicians, nurses and therapists provide the highest quality of care in a warm, comfortable environment near where you live or work.

Your radiation therapist works closely with the rest of your Cancer Care team to ensure you have seamless, effective care. Our expanded Radiation Oncology Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

We offer:

  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)
  • Three-dimensional (3D) treatment planning

We use real-time software to track the movement of tumors during treatment. Using this advanced technology, we can accurately target tumors and destroy cancer cells more precisely while preserving healthy tissue.

Advanced Radiation Therapies

Our Radiation Oncology Center offers cutting-edge medical systems that target and treat tumors with the highest level of precision. This allows us to preserve as much healthy, surrounding tissue as possible.

These advanced therapies are offered by our dedicated professionals who provide expert, personalized care. We’ll treat you and your family with respect, dignity and compassion every step of the way.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

We use noninvasive methods to treat tumors in the brain with Stereotactic Radiosurgery, and throughout the body with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy. These treatments use extremely precise, high-dose radiation beams, and our team delivers them in up to five outpatient procedures.

During treatment, you lie comfortably while our advanced cancer treatment system targets the tumor. It delivers numerous, high-dose radiation beams directly to the tumor while sparing surrounding healthy tissue.

SRS and SBRT do not require surgery or sedation. These therapies minimize radiation exposure to normal tissue and organs. That means you’ll have fewer side effects after treatment.

Our radiation experts can use SRS and SBRT to treat these types of cancer:

  • Adrenal gland
  • Brain
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Spine
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy is a type of radiation treatment that precisely shapes the radiation beam according to your body. Compared to conventional radiation therapy, IMRT provides more precise targeting of the tumor. This greatly spares normal organs surrounding the cancer. As a result, it allows for a safe increase in the radiation dose to the tumor and, at the same time, reduces side effects.

Physicians and physicists work together to create your personalized IMRT care plan. They create an extensive list of treatment objectives. Then they use an advanced computer system to design hundreds of tiny radiation beams. Together, these beams produce a high-precision radiation dose pattern.

The treatment itself uses a "multi-leaf collimator" that has many small, motorized rods of tungsten that don’t allow radiation to pass through. Your treatment team programs these tungsten rods to move in and out of the radiation beam to deliver strategically shaped beams of radiation that conform to the tumor.

IMRT is particularly well suited for some people with prostate cancer, head and neck cancer and certain types of brain tumors. Your doctor will work with you to decide if IMRT is the best treatment for you.

Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

Using Image Guided Radiation Therapy, your Cancer Care team tracks the internal, real-time movements of your body. We create images of your body each day during treatment and then make fine adjustments to the positioning.

When you’re here for radiation treatment, your care team carefully lines up the treatment area of your body to the radiation beam. To do this, we use lasers and markings on the outside of the body. In some instances, the organs inside your body can move considerably over time. Your care team uses IGRT to account for this movement and makes updates accordingly.

In some cases, the Cancer Care team places tiny radio-opaque markers inside the body. Then we use the markers’ locations to position your body for treatment. We follow the daily movement of these markers and adjust the radiation beam as needed. This gives you enhanced treatment accuracy and precision.

3D Conformal Therapy

Before your therapy can begin, a team of radiation specialists works with the physicians to develop a treatment plan. This plan is a complex set of instructions that is given to the machine that produces radiation. This high-tech machine is called a linear accelerator. The Cancer Care team carefully designs treatment to direct radiation to the cancerous cells and protect healthy tissues and organs.

The treatment plans are developed using a 3D conformal technique. A computed tomography (CT) scan allows 3D visualization of the tumor and surrounding normal tissues. With this sophisticated computer system, the physicians and physicists customize the shape of the radiation beams to your tumor's specific size and shape. We then carry out this plan with great precision each day of your treatment.

Accreditation by the American College of Radiology

Our Radiation Oncology Program was awarded a three-year accreditation after a recent survey by the American College of Radiology (ACR). ACR awards accreditation to radiation oncology programs for achieving high practice standards.

Board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field conduct these evaluations. They assess the qualifications of the team and the adequacy of radiation therapy equipment. BID Plymouth is the only hospital-based ACR accredited program on the South Shore.

What does this accreditation mean to you? It means you’re in good hands with us. It shows our experts are fully committed to offering you high-quality care using the latest technology and treatment options.

Radiofrequency Identification (RFID) Technology

Our Radiation Oncology Center became the second program in the country — and the first program on the South Shore — to use RFID technology in an oncology electronic medical record. RFID technology ensures the right treatment is delivered to the right person every time. It uses automated patient queuing, accesses the treatment chart and verifies treatment delivery.

Each patient wears an identification card that contains an RFID chip. Our staff greets you as soon as you walk into the clinic. Our computer system also performs an electronic check-in.

When you enter the radiation treatment room, our computer system automatically opens your chart and customized treatment plan to be used by the radiation therapist. Our staff isn’t able to open or use any other patient's chart while you’re in the treatment room.

Our Radiation Therapy Staff

Radiation therapy is an important part of many cancer treatment plans. During radiation treatments, specialized equipment delivers carefully targeted and measured doses of radiation to your body. The radiation produces highly energized ions that gradually shrink and destroy cancer cells.

Learn about the members of your care team.

Radiation oncologist: The radiation oncologist is the team leader. They review your specific case, consult with you and your other physicians and plan the best course of treatment to meet your individual needs.

Radiation oncology nurse: The radiation oncology nurse educates you and your family, while monitoring you for signs and symptoms related to radiation therapy and cancer. The nurse has specialized training in caring for people with cancer. They serve as a direct assistant to the radiation oncologist during all of your clinical visits.

Medical physicist: The medical physicist is the ultimate quality assurance reviewer on the team. They ensure all treatment plans are correct, and the equipment operates correctly and is properly calibrated. They also ensure your care team delivers all treatments at the correct dose prescribed by radiation oncologist.

Medical dosimetrist:  Your medical dosimetrist takes your radiation oncologist’s prescription to calculate your dose for each treatment. They plan how best to deliver the radiation dose to your cancer cells location. Their primary responsibility is to design treatments that effectively target the cancer cells while sparing your normal tissues.

Radiation therapists:  Your radiation therapists prepare you for treatment, deliver the radiation, record and verify each treatment. They also monitor you during your therapy. They have extensive education in physics, radiation safety, anatomy and patient care. All our radiation therapists certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

Front office staff: The front office staff are the first faces you’ll see when you arrive at our Radiation Oncology Center. They handle your intake and paperwork and guide you toward all the information you need. They lead you to other members of the team to answer your questions.

Nutritionist: Nutritionists may work with you on a personal dietary plan. They can help you maximize your nutrition to keep up your strength during radiation therapy. They can help you get enough calories while choosing healthy options to improve your overall health.

Types of Cancer We Treat

Our expert care teams are proud to provide the latest in effective radiation therapy for many types of cancer, including:

  • Adrenal gland cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Spine cancer
  • Prostate cancer

Meet the Cancer Care Team

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital–Plymouth's team of cancer care physicians is highly trained in a variety of testing and diagnostic areas.