Explore the Central Nervous System Program

Overview

Mass General is an internationally recognized leader in the subspecialty of central nervous system (CNS) Radiation Oncology. Our program provides comprehensive expertise in clinical care of a wide spectrum of benign and malignant diseases affecting the brain and spine.

Clinical Services and Special Programs

Many leading-edge treatments we use were introduced or developed by our team, including:

  • Linear accelerator based fractionated radiation therapy: Using a variety of technological treatment planning including 3D conformal radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and volumetric modulated arc radiotherapy (VMAT).
  • Proton fractionated radiation therapy: Used to treat a variety of benign and malignant diseases in which sparing of normal brain tissue has the greatest impact in preserving neurocognitive and endocrine function.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS): In collaboration with the Department of Neurosurgery, this highly precise localization technique to deliver high dose of radiation to small brain targets is offered with both photons (linear accelerator) and proton therapy. We are the only institution worldwide with a dedicated proton SRS system; SRS is used to treat a variety of malignant and benign disorders.
  • Stereotactic fractionated radiotherapy (SRT): This treatment combines the use of the high precision localization technique of SRS with normal tissue sparing benefit of fractionation to deliver specialized fractionated radiation with either photons (linear accelerator) or proton therapy.
  • Spine stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT): Spine SBRT may be used to treat patients with radio-resistant, oligometastatic, and previously irradiated spinal metastases. This therapy provides a treatment option where none existed before.
  • Intraoperative brachytherapy: This treatment involves close collaboration with our neurosurgical colleagues such that during an operation and immediately following a planned tumor removal surgery, radioactive substances can be placed in direct contact in the brain with tissues at highest risk of having persistent tumor cells. Low energy of the radioactive substance limits the penetration of the radioactivity such that it remains localized to the surfaces that it touches.

Comprehensive Clinical Care

We provide comprehensive clinical care excellence in managing the full spectrum of CNS diseases. Because of the versatility in options of SRS, SRT, standard fractionated radiation therapy, and protons, we provide the best radiation treatment options currently available.

We work in a multidisciplinary setting with neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, neuro-pathologists, and neuro-radiologists to personalize treatment to the individual. There are numerous other patient-centric support services such as social work, massage therapy, acupuncture, and nutrition consultations that complement our immediate radiation services and are directly accessible through our department.

A Collaborative Approach

Our comprehensive approach includes working closely with your multidisciplinary team at the highly specialized Stephen E. and Catherine Pappas Center for Neuro-Oncology, part of the Mass General Cancer Center. Your team may include clinical experts in neurology, brain surgery, radiology, pathology and psychiatry. Social services are also available to all patients.

The answers to many frequently asked questions also appear in Your Guide to Radiation Therapy (PDF).

Clinical Trials

Massachusetts General Hospital invites patients and the community to participate in innovative clinical trials and research studies.

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Patient Resources

Radiation Therapy Guide

Radiation Therapy Guide

This pdf describes what you can expect before and during your radiation treatments.

What to Expect

What to Expect

Learn about the radiation treatment process, and what to expect during each visit.

Virtual Guides

Virtual Guides

Browse our online guides to visualize steps throughout the radiation oncology process.

FAQs

FAQs

Find answers to frequently asked questions about radiation treatment.

Patient Education

Patient Education

Find various radiation oncology patient education resources to help answer your questions.