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Radiation Oncology Treatment Services

Radiation treatment is a vital part of many cancer treatment plans. It uses high-energy x-rays, gamma rays, and charged particles directed at a tumor to kill cancer cells.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center is a leader in the use of radiation.

We provide radiation cancer treatment at locations across Pennsylvania. This means you'll receive the latest, most advanced cancer treatment available close to home.

Types of Radiation Treatments

There are two basic types of radiation therapy:

  • External beam radiation. This uses a special x-ray machine to send a high dose of radiation right to the cancer site.
  • Internal radiation or brachytherapy. This uses radioactive seeds inside your body on or near the tumor.

Your doctor will choose the best treatment for you based on the type, stage, and location of your cancer.

External beam radiation therapy

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and body radiation therapy (SBRT). These are pain-free options for surgery that direct high doses of radiation to your tumor. SRS and SBRT work with pinpoint accuracy so they protect healthy tissue. You won't need any incisions and these treatments have few or no side effects.
  • Intensity-modulated (IMRT). This treatment uses fast and precise RapidArc® technology. The type of radiation beam doesn't harm nearby organs and tissues.
  • Image-guided (IGRT). This therapy also uses RapidArc. It includes an imaging system that sends high doses of sculpted radiation to your tumor. The result is less harm to nearby healthy tissue and shorter treatment times.
  • Endobronchial. This treatment relieves symptoms of advanced lung cancer, such as shortness of breath or cough. Your doctor uses a catheter to place high-dose radiation in the tumor site until you're done with treatment.
  • Intraoperative (IORT). IORT uses radiation during surgery, rather than as a separate treatment. Your doctor will remove your tumor and then radiate the tissue around it to kill any remaining cancer cells. In some cases, this will be the only radiation treatment you need.

Internal radiation or brachytherapy

  • High-dose-rate (HDR). This treatment places a high dose of radiation material inside, near, or around the tumor for just a few minutes.
  • Low-dose rate (LDR). This uses radioactive material to direct low doses of radiation to the tumor for a longer time. The material, which is close to or inside the tumor, delivers radiation at a continuous rate over 1 to 7 days.
  • Balloon breast (BBB). BBB can treat early-stage breast cancer after surgery to remove a lump or small cancer. The material, which is close to or inside the tumor, sends radiation at a continuous rate over 1 to 7 days.
  • Image–guided (IGBT). IGBT uses imaging to make radiation cancer treatment more precise, safe, and effective.

Contact Us About Radiation Oncology at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

To learn more about radiation treatments or to make an appointment you can:

TrueBeam machine

External Beam Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy uses a machine outside of the body to direct radiation at tumors inside the body.

Types of this treatment include:

  • 3D conformal radiation therapy
  • Image-guided radiotherapy
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
  • RapidArc® radiotherapy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery
  • TrueBeam radiosurgery

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hdr radonc machine

Internal Radiation Therapy

With internal radiation therapy, the radiation oncologist uses a catheter or applicator to insert radioactive seeds right at the cancer site.

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cyberknife machine

Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Ablative Radiotherapy

Stereotactic radiosurgery/ablative radiotherapy is a painless, incisionless surgery that uses electrically active atoms to damage cancer cells.

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