The Department of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital combines clinical expertise, compassionate care, and advanced radiation therapies to deliver the safest, most effective treatments for cancer and benign tumors.
Dr Jay Loeffler, Chief, Radiation Oncology, and Andrea Paciello, Executive Director, Radiation Oncology, discuss what makes the Mass General Hospital Dept of Radiation Oncology a leader in cancer care and treatment.
Our staff physicians are all faculty at Harvard Medical School and include some of the world's most knowledgeable and skilled radiation oncologists. Being at a large academic medical center allows our physicians to specialize and truly be expert in a specific type of cancer. We have radiation oncology physicians that specialize in treating cancer and benign conditions of the brain, breast, prostate, bladder, gastrointestinal system, cervix and uterus, head and neck, lung, pancreas, bone, skin and every other organ and system in the body. As part of Mass General’s multidisciplinary Cancer Center, the radiation oncology physicians work closely with medical oncology and surgical oncology colleagues that specialize in the same disease, and together they develop the optimal treatment plan for each patient. The ability to have a thoughtful and well-coordinated treatment plan developed jointly by radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and surgical oncologists sets MGH apart from most other Cancer Centers and has positive impacts on the quality of care provided.
We offer treatment locations in downtown Boston, as well as at Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA, Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA, and the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care in Danvers, MA. All of our satellite community locations are licensed by MGH and staffed fully by MGH caregivers.
We treat adults at all our locations and children at our main campus in downtown Boston. We have special facilities and services specifically for our pediatric patients, including a toy-filled pediatric waiting room, an expert pediatric anesthesia team, and a cheerful pediatric recovery room.
Although we treat nearly 500 patients a day across all of our locations, our patients are never a number. All of our physicians, nurses, radiation therapists and front desk staff take pride in knowing their patients and families. Our nurses and therapists educate patients and their families and provide all-important emotional support. In addition, we offer comprehensive cancer support services, such as cancer-related counseling by social workers, nutritional support from registered dietitians, holistic therapies such as massage, art and music, and a hair-loss and cosmetic boutique.
Our state-of-the-art radiation technologies, found in few other U.S. hospitals, provide precise targeting of tumors while minimizing the potential for injury to surrounding tissue. Each year, we successfully treat thousands of patients with noninvasive and minimally invasive internal and external radiation therapies, including proton beam therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, brachytherapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT).
Indeed, our department led the way in developing many of the most innovative and effective radiation therapies in the world.
In addition to our important patient care mission, our physicians, physician-scientists and physicists are among the most active, visionary investigators in developing next-generation radiation therapies. Research is an essential part of the MGH Department of Radiation Oncology - clinical research, basic research and physics research are conducted into the causes and mechanisms of cancer, with an emphasis on translating that work to clinical application, so that we can offer patients the benefits of these advances. We lead many of the country’s radiation oncology clinical trials and have special protocol staff that help patients learn about and enroll in clinical trials if they are eligible.
We believe in sharing our specialized knowledge with future generations and have robust training programs to support that educational effort. The Harvard Radiation Oncology Program is a four-year residency and produces some of the country's finest physicians and physician-scientists. We also offer a Proton Fellowship, a Pediatric Fellowship, a Medical Physics Residency Program, and collaborate with local colleges to provide clinical training for students working towards becoming radiation therapists or dosimetrists. In addition, we routinely have visitors from across the world come to our department to observe and learn from our radiation oncology experts.
Finally, our department supports our community, both locally and abroad. We are proud to partner with the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement to expose high school students to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). We also have a unique collaboration with radiation oncology colleagues in Botswana and are actively working to improve the quality of cancer care in that developing African nation.
We are privileged to provide care to patients and families, explore and test opportunities in science, train future generations, and positively impact our community. We are grateful to the many patients, families, students, philanthropists and others who continually place their trust and faith in us and our ability to improve the health of cancer patients across the globe.