Radiation Oncology

St. Francis Medical Center recognizes that cancer affects patients and their loved ones on several levels. Cancer can have a profound affect on a person’s self esteem due to changes in their appearance. Along with the person’s sense of mortality there is the physical toll of the disease and the treatment itself. St. Francis’s Medical Center’s mission is to provide exceptional medical care to the whole person-physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our commitment to the disease extends to cancer prevention, detection, education, as well as treatment. 

Our Radiation Oncology services blend both a technical and compassionate approach to the fight against cancer. Our cancer team of medical and nursing staffs can provide the special care our patients deserve with these and other services:

  • pain management
  • pastoral care
  • discharge planners
  • case managers
  • home health and hospice workers 

Radiation therapy is used for several purposes:

    • to control the growth
    • to prevent the spread
    • to alleviate pain

Radiation therapy effectively treats cancer by using high-energy X-rays to pinpoint and destroy cancerous cells in your body. It is a targeted, localized treatment that can be used alone as well as in conjunction with other treatments, including surgery or chemotherapy. Many forms of radiation are available and the best choice for you depends on the type of cancer you have, location and extent. With careful planning, radiation can be delivered to the cancer cells, and away from most healthy normal tissue. Our Radiation Oncology Services offers a full range of radiation treatments including Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). IMRT is an advanced 3-dimensional therapy that targets high doses of radiation a very precise way, while limiting damage to nearby healthy tissue. It is one of the most significant breakthroughs in cancer treatment in the last 30 years. IMRT can be used to treat tumors that are very hard to treat and that have wrapped themselves around healthy tissue or vital organs. This technique has been well established for head and neck cancer, stomach, lung, and brain tumors as well as prostate cancer where the rectum and bladder are nearby. 

Along with IMRT for prostate cancer, we incorporate our ultrasound based targeting system (BAT) for patients who have been prescribed radiation therapy. Studies show that the prostate moves from day-to-day. In the past, these daily movements have forced physicians to include larger treatment margins to ensure complete tumor coverage. The BAT takes care of this issue by allowing our physicians to pinpoint the prostate location on a daily basis. With real-time ultrasound images combined with CT data, we are able to identify movement and adjust the patient position in the radiation field.

The Varian simulator assists in the setup and placement of the radiation treatment fields, along with our CT scanner. The Clinac 21EX is capable of generating both high and low X-ray beams, as well as a full range of electron energies. This allows us to treat both shallow and deep-seated tumors. Having an exact couch tabletop at both the simulator and Clinac 21EX ensures exact repeat positioning and quick patient setup throughout the patient’s treatment. Our computerized treatment planning systems, with the help of our physics staff plans the radiation dose to the patient. These treatment planning systems are central to the design of the radiation treatment fields for conventional treatments as well as IMRT.

St. Francis Center provides quality care to over 500 new cancer patients a year.

Our treatment modalities are facilitated by our specially trained Radiation Oncology staff:

  • physicians
  • therapists
  • nurses
  • physicists
  • support staff 

For more information on St. Francis’s cancer services, call Radiation Oncology Services at 310-900-2760.