Treatment Programs

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Cancer Imaging and Intervention

The Cancer Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging combines leading-edge technology and the expertise of specialty-trained radiologists to provide comprehensive cancer detection and monitoring, plus image-guided treatments for specific types of cancer.

Imaging plays a critical role not only in detecting cancer tumors but also in characterizing them for the purposes of planning treatment. Mass General Imaging's Cancer Imaging and Intervention Program provides:

  • A full suite of exams including MRI, CT, nuclear medicine exams, PET-CT, and ultrasound.
  • Leading-edge technology, including the latest digital-mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and CT scanners.
  • Minimally invasive, image-guided therapeutic procedures, including treatments that kill tumor cells by delivering electric current, radioactive beads, or chemotherapy medicines directly to tumors.

Specialist radiologists, dedicated to your care

Because cancer can strike anywhere in the body, it's important to know that at Mass General Imaging, every scan is read by a specialty-trained radiologist: an expert who has extensive training and real-world experience in both the imaging technology being used and the area of the body in focus. Our radiologists are part of the Mass General Department of Radiology, where they work within teams tightly focused on their areas of specialization.

Coordinated care

We work in close consultation with your doctor to schedule and plan your exam. Then we provide swift results, including a written report and image access (if your doctor desires), within 48 to 72 hours.

When it comes to cancer care at Mass General, our radiologists work as part of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center: a multidisciplinary team of experts dedicated to cancer care. The Cancer Center unites specialists from hematology and oncology, oncology nursing, radiation oncology and surgical oncology, as well as an array of support services, to provide comprehensive, compassionate care to patients and families in an environment committed to research and education.

Emphasis on safety

Our commitment to safety extends through everything we do, from exam-room procedures to leading-edge research. We pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure—without giving up image quality. We employ physicists and engineers to calibrate and maintain our equipment at the highest level, and we invest to replace outmoded equipment and bring the latest technology to our patients.

The Cancer Imaging and Intervention Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging offers diagnostic exams and/or image-guided exams for the following conditions.

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis, also known as a solar keratosis, is a scaly or crusty bump that arises on the skin surface.

Acute Myelogenous Leukemia

Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood in which too many granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced in the bone marrow.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell cancer, sometimes called non-melanoma skin cancer, usually appears as a small, fleshy bump or nodule on the head, neck, or hands. Occasionally, these nodules appear on the trunk of the body, usually as flat growths.

Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome (Gorlin Syndrome)

Basal cell nevus syndrome is caused by a tumor suppressor gene, called PTCH, located on chromosome 9. Mutations in this gene may increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Benign Bone Tumors

There are many benign bone tumors that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below are some, for which we have provided a brief overview.

Benign Prostate Problems

Benign prostate problems are clinical conditions of the prostate gland that are not cancer, such as prostatism (any prostate condition that interferes with urine flow), prostatitis (an inflamed prostate gland), prostatalgia (pain in the prostate gland) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

BPH (also referred to as benign prostatic hypertrophy) is a condition in which the prostate gland becomes very enlarged and may cause problems associated with urination.

Biliary Cirrhosis / Bile Duct Cancer

Biliary cirrhosis is a rare form of liver cirrhosis, caused by disease or defects of the bile ducts.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer occurs when there are abnormal, cancerous cells growing in the bladder.

Blood Disorders

There are many Hematology & Blood Disorders that require clinical care by a physician or other healthcare professional. Listed in the directory below are some, for which we have provided a brief overview.

Bone Cancers

There are different types of bone cancers, which are typically defined as a malignant (cancerous) tumor of the bone that destroys normal bone tissue.

Brain Tumors

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. The tumor can either originate in the brain itself, or come from another part of the body and travel to the brain (metastasize). Brain tumors may be classified as either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), depending on their behavior.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a condition in which certain cells in the breast become abnormal and multiply without control to form a tumor.

Breast Cancer in Men

Breast cancer in men is a rare condition in which certain cells in the breast become abnormal and multiply without control to form a tumor.

Cardiac Sarcoma

Cardiac sarcoma is a type of tumor that occurs in the heart. Cardiac sarcoma is a primary malignant (cancerous) tumor.

Cervical Cancer

If abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix spread deeper into the cervix, or to other tissues or organs, the disease is then called cervical cancer, or invasive cervical cancer.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a cancer of the blood in which too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced by the bone marrow and by organs of the lymph system.

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the blood in which too many granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced in the bone marrow.

Chronic Pain

Pain is an unpleasant feeling that lets you know that something may be wrong. It is one of the body's warning signals that indicates a problem that needs attention.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is malignant cells found in the colon or rectum.

Cowden Syndrome

The risk for breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, and thyroid cancer is increased with Cowden syndrome, a rare autosomal dominant disorder that is also associated with a number of specific noncancerous features.

Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a disease caused when T-lymphocytes become malignant and affect the skin. T-lymphocytes are the infection-fighting white blood cells in the lymph system that kill harmful bacteria in the body, among other things.

Endometrial Cancer

Cancer of the endometrium, the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the endometrium. Endometrioid cancer is a specific type of endometrial cancer.

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is cancer that develops in the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach.

Generalized Exfoliative Dermatitis

Generalized exfoliative dermatitis is a severe inflammation of the entire skin surface due to a reaction to certain drugs, or as a result of complications from another skin condition.

Hereditary Breast Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (BRCA1 / BRCA2)

Hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome is an abnormal version of the gene BRCA1 or BRCA2, which increases a person’s risk of developing various types of cancer

Hodgkin's Disease

Hodgkin disease is a type of lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system.

Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys - two large, bean-shaped organs - one located to the left, and the other to the right of the backbone.

Laryngeal Cancer (Cancer of the Larynx)

Laryngeal cancer includes cancerous cells found in any part of the larynx - the glottis, the supraglottis, or the subglottis.

Li-Fraumeni Syndrome

The risk for breast cancer and many other forms of cancer is increased with Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), a genetic autosomal dominant cancer syndrome.

Liver Tumors

Tumors are abnormal masses of tissue that form when cells begin to reproduce at an increased rate. The liver can grow both non-cancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) tumors.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is cancer that usually starts in the lining of the bronchi (the main airways of the lungs), but can also begin in other areas of the respiratory system, including the trachea, bronchioles, or alveoli.

Lymphedema Following a Mastectomy

When the normal drainage pattern in the lymph nodes is disturbed or damaged (such as during radiation or during surgery to remove lymph nodes), this may cause an abnormal collection of fluid that causes the arm to swell.

Melanoma

Melanoma is a disease of the skin in which cancer cells are found in the melanocytes, the cells that produce color in the skin or pigment known as melanin.

Merkel Cell Cancer

Merkel cell cancer is also known as neuroendocrine cancer of the skin, or trabecular cancer.

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin disease is a type of lymphoma, which is a cancer in the lymphatic system.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is cancer found in the oral cavity (the mouth area) and the oropharynx (the throat area at the back of the mouth).

Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that develops in the osteoblast cells that form the outer covering of bone.

Other Types of Skin Cancer: Kaposi's Sarcoma / Paget's Disease

Kaposi's sarcoma is a skin cancer that starts in the skin's blood vessels. Kaposi's sarcoma comes in two forms: a slow-growing form, and a more aggressive, faster-spreading form.

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant cells are found in an ovary.

Ovarian Cancer and Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colon Cancer (HNPCC)

The risk for ovarian cancer is increased with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), an autosomal dominant cancer genetic syndrome.

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in men and women in the US. Pancreatic cancer occurs when malignant cells grow out of control.

Pituitary Tumors

Although rare, most pituitary tumors are not cancerous (benign), comprising only 7 percent of brain tumors. However, most pituitary tumors will press against the optic nerves, causing vision problems.

Prostate Cancer

Early prostate cancer may not present any symptoms and can only be found with regular prostate examinations by your physician.

Prostate Disease

There are clinical conditions of the prostate gland that are not cancer, including the following: prostatism, prostatitis, prostatalgia, benign prostatic hyperplasia (Also called BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy.), impotence (Also called erectile dysfunction) and urinary incontinence).

Prostatitis

Prostatitis is one of several benign (non-cancerous), inflamed conditions of the prostate gland.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell skin cancer (sometimes referred to as non-melanoma carcinoma) may appear as nodules, or as red, scaly patches of skin.

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is cancer that starts in any part of the stomach.

Testicular Cancer

Cancer that develops in a testicle is called testicular cancer.

Thyroid Tumors

Thyroid tumors are either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) growths.

Uterine Cancer

Cancers that occur in each part of the uterus have their own names, such as cervical cancer or endometrial cancer, but are sometimes broadly defined as uterine cancer because the structure is part of the uterus.

Vaginal Cancer

Cancer of the vagina, a rare kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which malignant cells are found in the tissues of the vagina.

Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar cancer is a malignancy that can occur on any part of the external organs, but most often affects the labia majora or labia minora.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Supercomputer 'virtual cleanse' aims to ease CT colonography prep

Image processing technologies being tested by Massachusetts General Hospital intend to take the yuck factor out of colorectal cancer screenings.

CT scans found to lower chances of lung cancer deaths

Study raises hopes of early detection

CT colonography removing barriers to colon testing

Editorial by Mass General Imaging radiologist Michael Zalis, MD.

Lunder Building 9 and 10 medical oncology floors

MGH Hotline 3.18.11

Cancer Center celebrates the one hundred

MGH Hotline 6.10.11 One individual can make an incredible difference for a patient with cancer.

Thrall: Healthcare IT can help rads tackle radiation exposure

It's imperative that radiologists proactively find ways to keep radiation dose to a minimum, and healthcare IT can help, according to Dr. James H. Thrall, who spoke on the topic this week at the New York Medical Imaging Informatics Symposium.

MGH Research Scholar Dr. Gary Tearney’s Work With Imaging

Gary Tearney, MD, PhD, works at the intersection of medicine, science and engineering. He and his team are developing imaging technologies so they can peer into tiny spaces within the body. They can now see into structures in the walls of arteries that supply blood to our hearts. What they see will help them save lives.

3D Mammography

Pioneered and now available at Mass General Imaging, 3D mammography, also known as breast tomosynthesis, provides a clear view through overlapping layers of breast tissue in order to improve breast-cancer detection while reducing callbacks.

Images of Imaging: CT (computed tomography)

Get an inside look at CT exams at Mass General Imaging. Learn about CT technology, the professionals who guide patients through the exam process, and the specialty-trained radiologists who interpret every scan.

Images of Imaging: MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Learn about MRI exams at Mass General Imaging. See what MRI scanners and images look like, understand MRI safety, and learn about the specialty-trained radiologists who interpret every scan.

Images of Imaging: Nuclear medicine

Learn about nuclear medicine exams at Mass General Imaging. See what nuclear medicine scanners and images look like, what to expect from the exam process, and the key role played by our specialty-trained radiologists.

Webster Center takes on radiation-dose reduction

Dr. James H. Thrall, Department of Radiology chairman emeritus, discusses The Webster Center for Advanced Research and Education in Radiation, a unique research effort dedicated to reducing radiation dose for every exam Mass General Imaging performs.

Radiation reduction: Our ongoing commitment

As CT (computed tomography) technology has transformed the practice of medicine, Mass General Imaging has dedicated itself to making sure each exam exposes the patient to the lowest achievable amount of radiation. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, discusses our decade-long commitment—and our success—regarding this issue.

Decision tools support radiation-reduction efforts

One effective way to reduce radiation exposure is to avoid unnecessary exams. That's why Mass General Imaging has been a leader in developing software tools that guide referring physicians by not only making sure the selected exam matches the patient's needs but also suggesting radiation-free alternatives when appropriate.

Imaging specialists, focused on you

Each radiologist at Mass General Imaging is a specialist in a particular area of the body. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how patients benefit from the additional specialty training our physicians have completed.

Imaging technology enables non-surgical treatments

Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how the ability to see deep inside the body has driven the development of minimally invasive methods of treatment—a trend in which Mass General Imaging has played a key role.

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Discover the Imaging patient experience

Mass General offers specialty-trained radiologists, leading-edge technology and a caring staff that's committed to patient safety and comfort.

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Radiation safety

Learn how Mass General Imaging works to increase patient safety by reducing radiation exposure.

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Imaging: Powered by radiology specialists

Learn more about the Department of Radiology, the clinical force behind Mass General Imaging.