Ocular Melanoma and Eye Tumor Program

Managing treatment for hundreds of patients annually, the Ocular Melanoma and Eye Tumor Program in the Department of Radiation Oncology specializes in state-of-the-art radiation therapy for patients with malignant and benign eye tumors.

Our Approach

Our mission is to preserve the patient's eye and its normal function. Managing therapy for hundreds of patients annually, our radiation oncologists are some of the country's most experienced in treating eye tumors with today's sophisticated technologies. Mass General is one of the few hospitals in the world with a proton beam facility and a treatment line dedicated to the eye.

We administer radiation therapy for conditions such as:

  • Ocular melanoma: Melanomas that arise in the eye
  • Benign eye tumors: Lesions including angioma and hemangioma
  • Metastatic eye tumors: Localized eye cancers that have spread from other organs

For patients with detached retinas and other eye disorders, we work closely with their specialists at the world-renowned Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary (MEEI). This unique collaboration between physicians from two of Boston's major medical centers ensures our patients receive outstanding and comprehensive care.

State-of-the-Art Therapies

Many of the leading-edge treatments that we use were introduced or developed by our team. Perhaps the most well-known is proton therapy. For select patients, this breakthrough treatment pinpoints a high radiation dose to the eye tumor while achieving excellent protection of the surrounding tissue. In 1961 its clinical use was pioneered by Harvard physicists. Their work inspired Herman Suit, MD, PhD, to champion the founding of the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center (FHBPTC) at Mass General.

Since the center's creation, we have continued to improve proton ocular radiation therapy (PORT). Patient outcomes are impressive, and some patients may experience improved vision.

Not everyone is a candidate for proton therapy. Imaging studies and an evaluation by an ocular specialist are required to ensure the therapy is appropriate. In many cases, we treat patients with innovative 3D conformal radiation techniques, such as intensity modulated radiation therapy, which typically produce outstanding outcomes.

World-Class Clinical Expertise

Due to our depth and breadth of expertise, we receive patient referrals from eye specialists nationwide. Our staff of accomplished radiation oncologists includes:

  • Helen Shih, MD, MPH, the associate medical director of the FHBPTC, treats ocular tumors, as well as cutaneous melanoma, brain and cranial base tumors. Dr. Shih's interests include proton therapy and enhancing clinical delivery systems to improve patient care
  • Shannon MacDonald, MD, specializes in using proton beam therapy to treat ocular tumors in adults and children. Dr. MacDonald also is a principal investigator in a leading-edge study involving treatment of the chest with proton therapy
  • Yen-Lin Chen, MD, is an experienced physician who treats ocular tumors. She also specializes in sarcomas and cutaneous melanoma. She is an active researcher with expertise in various photon and proton therapy techniques

What to Expect

Following treatment, patients typically receive follow-up care from their MEEI physicians or from eye specialists in their communities.

Our team is dedicated to keeping you completely informed and encourages you to ask us about any step in the treatment process, from understanding the safety of your therapy to managing side effects. The answers to many frequently asked questions also appear in Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF).

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.

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.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Read our patient information guide to learn more about the different types of radiation treatments and what patients can expect.

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.

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program focuses on improving the quality of life and well-being of Cancer Center patients, their families and friends through free wellness services such as acupuncture and yoga. These services help you take care of your whole self — mind, body and spirit.

Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF)

Read our patient information guide to learn more about the different types of radiation treatments and what patients can expect.

Clark Center for Radiation Oncology

Vida E & Arthur L. Goldstein Lunder Building
Lunder Building LL3
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726- 8651
Fax: 857-238-6377
Email: InformationRadOnc@Partners.org

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center
30 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-726-0923 (Proton Inquiry Line: 617-724-1680)
Fax: 617-726-6498
Email: InformationRadOnc@partners.org