The Division of Radiation Oncology

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The most advanced radiation therapy available today, finely targeting radiation to tumors with more precision than ever before.

Since long before the advent of chemotherapy, radiation therapy has been an anchor of cancer treatment—both to kill cancers and to shrink tumors for palliative (symptom) relief. The Department of Radiation Oncology at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center provides the most advanced radiation therapy available today, featuring state-of-the-art technologies that finely target radiation to tumors with more precision than ever before. We have a history of leading radiation therapy in New Jersey, becoming the first center in the state to offer stereotactic radiosurgery for brain tumors and TrueBeam® image-guided radiation therapy for a variety of cancers. You’ll have access to the most comprehensive radiation treatment center in the state in a beautiful facility where every floor, including radiation oncology, faces a landscaped garden.

Our goal is to treat your cancer, working very closely with other experts in your care, while taking into account all physical, functional, emotional, and quality of life aspects of your disease. We don’t just care for you, but about you. In fact, according to Press-Ganey surveys, 99 percent of our patients report satisfaction with their care.

A Team of Experts in Radiation Oncology

Our multidisciplinary team of radiation oncologists, physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, nurses, and support staff is dedicated to providing you with the most effective care and ensuring your well-being. Licensed clinical social workers provide psychosocial support and guidance on practical matters during cancer care, and registered dietitians offer nutritional guidance to ensure you stay strong during cancer treatment.

Our Radiation Oncology Specialists

A Comprehensive Suite of Radiation Therapy Technologies

We offer almost every type of radiation therapy available today—from external beam radiation therapy to internally implanted radiation sources—for breast, prostate, lung, brain, head and neck, gynecologic, and other cancers. Our radiation therapy options include:

  • TomoTherapy® linear accelerator by Accuray®, which offers highly conformal radiation delivery. We utilize this machine for many patients with prostate, head and neck, lung, and esophageal cancers, as well as others. TomoTherapy integrates treatment planning, patient positioning, and treatment delivery into one unique system. We are one of just a few facilities in New Jersey offering this therapy.
  • TrueBeam® linear accelerators by Varian Medical Systems, which are versatile and state-of-the-art. This image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) system enables us to deliver radiation treatments faster while monitoring and compensating for tumor motion. We have three of these machines, one of which is dedicated to stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT).
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), the most exciting development in radiation oncology in the last 15 years. Given in just a few sessions, high doses are delivered extremely precisely and carefully to targets outside the head. This is made possible by high-tech advances in linear accelerator delivery systems, computerized planning, patient positioning, and image guidance. SBRT offers very high local control rates in the curative and palliative medicine settings.
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which we use to treat a variety of cancers and benign conditions. With this approach, we direct radiation of various intensities, shaped to the contours of a tumor, from a variety of angles to destroy tumor tissue while sparing normal tissue as much as possible. We always couple this approach with IGRT techniques to ensure exceptional precision.
  • RapidArc®, arc-based IMRT on the TrueBeam platform. This technique delivers the radiation dose to the entire tumor in a 360-degree rotation, often in less than two minutes. Compared with first-generation IMRT, it offers better speed and conformality of dose delivery. RapidArc’s algorithm ensures treatment precision, helping to spare surrounding healthy tissue from radiation exposure.
  • Gamma Knife® stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), a noninvasive, same-day procedure that we use to treat malignant and benign tumors of the brain and other parts of the head. Invented by a neurosurgeon, this is the most focused treatment in the world.
  • Hypofractionated radiation therapy for certain cancers can provide equal effectiveness as conventional treatment, but over a shorter overall treatment course, and with a similar chance of side effects. We commonly use this technique to treat breast cancer, lymphoma, and lung cancer, as well as to relieve cancer symptoms.
  • Brachytherapy, which involves the temporary or permanent implantation of radioactive seeds to treat a variety of cancers, including prostate, gynecologic, and head and neck cancers. For some patients with breast cancer, we offer accelerated partial breast irradiation using Contura® and MammoSite® brachytherapy, which reduces the length of treatment to just five days for many patients. High dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy has the advantage of short exposure times, which means that many patients can be treated and go home the same day.
  • Total body irradiation (TBI), which complements our Bone Marrow Transplantation service, improves the conditioning regimen over chemotherapy alone. Only a few centers in the state perform this service, and we have a high-volume practice.
  • 3-D conformal radiation therapy, a treatment in which radiation administration is customized to the shape of the tumor. Planning with this technique represents an advance over older 2D planning techniques, permitting the integration of diagnostic CT, MRI, and PET/CT scanning information.
  • Prone breast positioning, an important advance in the treatment of breast cancers. The patient lies face down on a table with the treated breast falling through an opening, allowing us to treat that breast while sparing lung and heart tissue and reducing the risk of late-term side effects. Many centers do not offer this technique. We use it whenever possible.
  • Electron therapy, delivered through our TrueBeam accelerators, typically to lesions on the skin. Electrons are lightweight charged particles, and we can carefully tune the depth of treatment.
  • Respiratory motion management. When we believe a tumor is likely to move with breathing, we obtain the simulation CT scan with “bellows” or RPM® technique, which results in ten snapshots of the tumor position during each breath. We then incorporate all of this information into treatment planning, resulting in radiation therapy to the target with as little radiation exposure to normal tissue as possible.
  • CT simulation with MedRad rapid injector capability, an approach which incorporates the latest in patient comfort and stability. The rapid intravenous injection of a contrast agent is a major advance over conventional manual delivery and enhances the diagnostic quality of simulation scans, which are the anchor of radiation planning. Both of our CT simulators as well as our PET/CT unit have LAP Laser® systems, enabling us to complete patient imaging and marking in one session. This method maximizes treatment accuracy and minimizes inconvenience for you.

The Department of Radiation Oncology is the region’s most comprehensive and provides the most advanced treatment modalities available in the field today, while investing constantly in equipment, technologies, and staffing. Your treatment team will choose the technology that is best for you and customize your care to achieve the best outcome. You may also have opportunities to participate in a clinical trial evaluating a promising new radiation therapy approach or application.

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