Radiation Oncology

Radiation Oncologist

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.

Services include:

 

Meet our Radiation Oncologists:

Gary Proulx, MD Medical Director
Radiation Oncology

Karen De Amorim Bernstein, MD
Radiation Oncology

 

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

Early stage breast cancer patients who meet specific criteria now have the ability to receive a nationally renowned one-day treatment close to home, eliminating months of travel, disruption and anxiety.  Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT) is a breast cancer treatment option in which radiation treatment can be administered in a single dose at the time of surgery. This eliminates the standard procedure of five to seven weeks of daily radiation.

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.

Exeter Hospital's Varian TrueBeam™ linear accelerator is a highly sophisticated system designed to deliver powerful radiation with pinpoint accuracy, speed and precision to treat cancer tumors. The high energy x-rays are shaped to the tumor in order to shrink and kill the cancer cells.  The incredible accuracy of the beams reduces the amount of healthy tissue exposed to radiation.  This linear accelerator can also deliver the radiation more efficiently, reducing the number of treatments needed.

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.

Simulation

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.

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