Jefferson University Hospitals

External Radiation Therapy

If you are diagnosed with a brain tumor, breast cancer, lung cancer, a cancer of the digestive system or other type of cancer, Jefferson offers one of the largest radiation programs for cancer treatment in the Delaware Valley. Surgery is the primary therapy for many of these conditions, and radiation therapy plays an important role before or after surgery.

What Does External Radiation Therapy Involve?

Radiation therapy for your cancer may be given in the form of external radiation treatment, where a high-energy beam is directed at the tumor site for a few minutes during each treatment over a period of weeks. The dose of radiation and the number of treatments depend on the size and type of tumor, your general health and any other treatment you are receiving.

At Jefferson, we start by creating a customized radiation treatment program. Treatment planning precedes actual treatment and determines the best way to position your body on the radiation therapy machine. Our goal is to maximize radiation exposure to malignant cells, while minimizing exposure to normal cells.

Radiation treatments are much like having an X-ray, except that they take a few minutes longer. Each treatment lasts less than 5 minutes. A typical radiation therapy program lasts five days a week for five to seven weeks. Our physicians will meet with you at least once a week during this time to determine both your progress and tolerance of the treatments.

Why Choose Jefferson for Radiation Therapy in Philadelphia?

Our radiation oncologists subspecialize in tumor types and specialized therapies and are seeking to improve outcomes of cancer patients, in part through carefully combined and sequenced therapies enlisting the help of surgeons and medical oncologists.