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Radiation Oncology

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Radiation Oncology at Jefferson
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Jefferson is home to a radiation oncology center that is visited by more than 2,000 cancer patients a year, approximately half of whom receive radiation treatments.

Our integrated, multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment puts our patients' comfort first. Our radiation oncologists have developed several new cancer treatments and have helped pioneer the use of advanced radiation therapies that precisely target cancerous tumors while minimizing the effects on surrounding healthy tissue.

Radiation therapies help a significant number of our patients realize cures, while they successfully slow the progress of cancers for many other patients.

Continually Improving Patient Outcomes

Specializing in specific types of tumors and therapies, our radiation oncologists are continually improving patient outcomes by providing carefully coordinated and sequenced therapies in concert with surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation biologists and medical physicists.

Medical physicists at Jefferson are among the top professionals who write the guidelines used around the world. Though medical physicists work behind the scenes, their role is crucial in treatment planning. Our medical physicists are responsible for designing and planning radiation treatment for each patient – which includes planning the amount and frequency of dosage and working with a dosimetrist to create a simulation of the treatment – and managing the radiation equipment to ensure it meets and exceeds specifications.

Our Department is also recognized and respected around the country and around the world for innovation, precision and safety.

Convenient Radiation Therapy Locations Throughout the Philadelphia Area

The facilities of the Department of Radiation Oncology, known as the Bodine Center for Radiation Therapy/Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, occupy three contiguous levels of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, totaling 57,000 square feet. The Center incorporates facilities for patient reception, examination, care, follow-up and other services. It also includes an IV Infusion Center, administrators' and physicians' offices, a computer center, a physics laboratory and several research laboratories.

As part of our quest for continually improving quality and patient outcomes, we recently added two TrueBeam™ linear accelerators. This accelerator, or LINAC, is capable of delivering fast and precise 3-D image-guided radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer. Treatments focus powerful radiation on the tumor while limiting exposure to surrounding healthy tissues.

In addition to our Center City location, Jefferson radiation oncologists treat patients needing radiation therapy at other area locations, including Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience and Riddle Hospital in Media.

Advanced Radiation Therapies Offered

Our radiation oncologists perform more than 50,000 radiation treatments annually. Some of the advanced radiation therapies offered at Jefferson include:

  • Brachytherapy – a procedure that involves implanting tiny radioactive seeds at the site of the tumor, which, compared with external radiation therapy, allows for a higher dose of radiation to be safely administered.
  • Conformal radiation therapy – uses computers to create a 3-D picture of the tumor so that multiple radiation beams can be shaped exactly to the contour of the treatment area, sparing normal tissue.
  • External radiation therapy – a high-energy beam is directed at the tumor site for a few minutes during each treatment over a period of weeks.
  • Hyperthermia – a form of thermal therapy that utilizes moderate temperature elevation to enhance the effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – delivers radiation doses that precisely fit the 3-D shape of a tumor. It also tightly regulates the intensity of the radiation to more closely target the tumors and spare surrounding tissue.
  • Radioembolization (also known as selective internal radiation therapy) – For patients with primary liver cancer or liver metastases, this localized radiation delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor while sparing the healthy liver. This breakthrough treatment delivers radiation directly to tumors via microscopic glass bubbles filled with a radioactive material called yttrium-90. 
  • Total skin electron beam therapy (TSEBT) – a form of radiotherapy delivered to the entire skin surface. It is used when the skin lymphoma has affected many areas of your skin.
  • Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) – a new generation arc therapy technique that establishes new standards for treatment speed and dose conformity.

Radiation Oncology Research and Education

Visit the Department of Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University for more on research and education.