Our radiation oncologists have special expertise and experience in the treatment of:
- Lung cancers (non-small cell lung carcinoma, small cell lung carcinoma)
- Esophageal cancers
- Less common cancers of the chest, including thymoma, tracheal cancer, mesothelioma
- Brain metastases and other metastatic sites
As members of the Center for Thoracic Cancers in the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, we closely work as a team with other health care providers, including medical oncologists and thoracic surgeons, to meet the needs of each and every one of our patients.
Improving Patient Outcomes through Technological Innovation
To provide the best treatments for our patients, we understand it’s not just about the radiation machines. It's about advanced radiation technologies, plus the people who bring them to our patients.
IMART+ is our advanced radiation technology program for IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy) and VMAT (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy). A process called “multicriteria optimization”, pioneered by MGH physicists and first used in 2011, ensures that the best possible radiation treatment plan is found for each patient. This program benefits many patients with thoracic cancers by:
- Reducing of the risk of severe irritation/inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis)
- Reducing the risk of severe inflammation of the lungs (pneumonitis)
- Minimizing radiation dose to the heart
- Preserving memory function in the treatment of brain metastases
- Killing more tumor through the delivery of higher radiation doses
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT). Implemented as the first linear accelerator-based SBRT program in the greater Boston area in 2008/09, we have developed special expertise in treating even the most difficult tumor locations in the lungs with few or no side effects. Increasingly, we use SBRT not only for the eradication of early stage non-small cell lung cancers but also in patients with advanced stage cancers in conjunction with chemotherapy or biological therapies.
4D CT scanning and respiratory gating. Pioneered by our team in the early 2000s, this imaging technology breakthrough enables us to plan more precise dosing of tumors in the lungs and esophagus by accounting for tumor motion associated with breathing. With the aid of 4D CT scanning, our research team refined the technique of respiratory gating, which delivers radiation to a tumor during a limited period of breathing cycle, such as the exhale phase. By doing so, we are able to treat the lung tumor with greater precision while sparing normal, surrounding tissue much better than with radiation therapy based on conventional 3D CT scanning.
Improving Patient Outcomes through Collaborative Research
All radiation oncology specialists in the Thoracic Program are actively involved in cutting-edge research aimed at improving treatment outcomes for our patients. In addition to technological advances to make radiation more effective and less toxic, we work closely with our colleagues in the Center for Thoracic Cancers to integrate radiation therapy with revolutionizing biological treatments, including immunotherapies. Our overarching goal is to increase the chance of cure without treatment complications even in patients suffering from advanced thoracic cancers.
Massachusetts General Hospital invites patients and the community to participate in innovative clinical trials and research studies.
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