Radiation oncologists oversee the care of each cancer patient undergoing radiation treatment. They develop and prescribe the patient's treatment plan and make sure that every treatment is accurately given. In addition, radiation oncologists help identify and treat any side effects of radiation therapy. They work closely with other physicians and all members of the radiation oncology team.
Our relationship with the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Cancer Center brings radiation oncologists from the world’s leading academic medical center to Exeter Hospital’s Center for Cancer Care. This relationship allows us to offer state of the art radiation therapy services in our community.
- Breast Intraoperative Radiation Therapy
- Electronic Brachytherapy
- CT Simulation
- Partial Breast Irradiation
- Image Guided Radiation Therapy
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
- Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)
Simulation of a patient receiving Electronic Brachytherapy treatment
Recently, the new state-of the-art treatment, Electronic Brachytherapy was introduced at Exeter Hospital's Center for Cancer Care, offering some patients who are diagnosed with early stage breast cancer the option of a five day course of radiation as opposed to seven weeks.
Patients can now receive cancer treatment without many weeks of disruption in their daily lives. The new treatment method delivers radiation therapy electronically, without the use of radioactive isotopes, eliminating the need for heavily shielded vaults required be existing radiation therapy technologies. This allows the the clinical team to stay in the same room with the patient during their treatment, providing a more comforting atmosphere.
(The cost of Electronic Brachytherapy may not be covered by some insurance companies. Candidates for the treatment are urged to consult with their physician and insurance company.)
Radiation Oncologists are certified by the American Board of Radiology.
Meet our Radiation Oncologists:
Gary Proulx, MD Medical Director
Karen De Amorim Bernstein, MD
Radiation Therapy Treatments
Radiation treatments at Exeter Hospital are delivered by linear accelerators using a technique called external beam therapy.
It takes about five to 15 minutes to be positioned for treatment, and the treatment itself takes only a few minutes. Patients are treated with multiple small doses of radiation with time in between treatments so their healthy cells can repair much of the radiation damage.
The patient usually receives external beam therapy five times a week; some patients receive treatment twice a day. An entire course of radiation treatment usually lasts from one to eight weeks, depending on the type of cancer and the goal of treatment.
The Radiation Therapist gives external beam treatment following the treatment plan developed by the Radiation Oncologist, Physicist and Dosimetrist. The therapist is not in the treatment room with the patient but closely monitors the patient on a television screen.
During the treatment, the patient lies very still, and can communicate with the therapist via a microphone in the treatment room.
Before radiation treatment is started, x-ray films are taken and calculations are made to determine the angles from which the x-rays should be directed. These measurements are taken with a CT simulator.
During simulation, the area of the patient's body to be treated is marked directly on the patient's skin with markers. Very tiny permanent marks, or tattoos, are sometimes made to ensure that daily treatments are delivered accurately. These are also useful for future treatment planning sessions and treatment updates.