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Our radiation therapy services

Radiation therapy is an important tool in cancer treatment. Depending on your doctor’s recommendation, however, it can be used for both cancerous and benign (noncancerous) tumors. 

The Department of Radiation Medicine offers the most comprehensive range of radiation therapy treatment programs on Staten Island. We treat most types of cancer, including brain, head and neck, lung, breast, intestinal, bladder and prostate, sarcomas and pediatric tumors.

External beam radiation therapy and technology

Radiation therapy delivered from a machine outside the body is known as external beam radiation therapy. Our convenient outpatient services include the following treatments:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery/body radiation therapy (SRS/SBRT)—a specialized type of external beam radiation therapy that uses focused radiation beams, targeting a well-defined tumor, to deliver the highest possible radiation dose with pinpoint accuracy. Treatment is generally delivered in one to five sessions. 
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)—one of the recent advances in the delivery of radiation. IMRT modifies the intensity of the radiation within each of the radiation beams and allows delivery of higher doses of radiation to tumors, especially those near vital areas while lowering doses to nearby healthy tissue. We also offer volume modulated arc therapy (VMAT) which is a specific form of IMRT.
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)—use of X-ray imaging or a device such as Calypso to verify the accuracy of patient position before treatment. IGRT enables doctors to make real-time adaptations to the treatment plan.
  • 3-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT)—a treatment plan derived from information from CT scans, MRI or PET scans. A high dose of radiation is delivered to tumors while sparing healthy tissue.
  • 4-dimensional simulation—used for simulation of respiratory gating procedures to monitor the tumor’s movement as a patient breathes. This allows treatment with a high dose of radiation to cancerous tumors while sparing a larger volume of healthy tissue.

Highlights of our external beam radiation therapy technology include:

  • TrueBeam™: The Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator integrates imaging and radiation delivery. It can be used to deliver numerous forms of radiotherapy, including 3D/conformal, IMRT, IGRT, SBRT, and SRS. This flexibility gives your radiation oncologist the opportunity to tailor your treatment and choose the method that is best for your particular case. We are proud to have Staten Island’s newest linear accelerator.
  • Calypso® System: Known as GPS for the Body®, the Calypso system uses three transponders - or beacons - to localize and track the treatment area with millimeter accuracy. Calypso is currently used for prostate cancer treatments, allowing us to precisely position the prostate each day. Over the course of the therapy, we can continue to track its location and measure changes. This accuracy allows us to limit the extent of radiation and reduce both short- and long-term side effects. You are not radioactive if you have Calypso beacons in your prostate, so you do not need to take any precautions when you are with family, pregnant women or small children. 
  • AlignRT®: Accuracy is vital during radiation therapy. Our radiation therapists take great care to ensure you are in the right place for treatment so only the target area receives radiation and healthy tissue is spared. However, patients naturally move during treatment, and this slight movement can be difficult to detect. AlignRT detects motion during radiation therapy using three advanced camera units, which monitor thousands of points on the skin. If the patient moves outside an acceptable position, by even a millimeter, AlignRT automatically pauses the radiation. Once the patient is back in position, AlignRT allows treatment to continue.
  • Brainlab/ExacTrac®: With Brainlab/ExacTrac, radiation beams can be shaped to target the exact contour of the tumor or lesion. Even if your tumor or lesion is irregularly formed, we can adjust the shape of the beam to target that area. Sophisticated software calculates the ideal access points and defines the treatment plan. During radiation therapy, you’ll lie down on a special ExacTrac treatment bed, which monitors and adjusts for movement and respiration. The Brainlab radiation source moves around your body, penetrating the tumor or lesion from different angles. Brainlab delivers targeted radiation while substantially limiting exposure to surrounding healthy tissue, which reduces potential damage to delicate structures such as the brainstem or spinal cord.
  • Wide bore GE CT for simulation: This special unit helps doctors plan the course of radiation therapy before treatment begins.

Internal radiation (brachytherapy) services and technology

With internal radiation therapy, your radiation oncologist implants or inserts radioactive materials at the site of your cancer.

Our internal radiation therapy services include:

  • Brachytherapy and high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy—a method for delivery of radiation “from the inside,” also known as implant therapy. Brachytherapy is used for treating breast, skin and gynecological malignancies with highly targeted doses of radiation over a short period of time.
  • Intraoperative radiation—allows single dose treatment to be safely given during selected operative procedures.

Highlights of our internal radiation therapy technology include: 

  • Xoft® Axxent®: Intraoperative radiation 
  • microSelectron® and Oncentra®: HDR brachytherapy

Leading edge radiation therapy treatments for a wide range of conditions

Using the above technologies and therapies, we treat the following conditions: 

  • Breast cancer—Radiation therapy options for breast cancer patients include treatment in the supine or prone position and use of IMRT. Other options include accelerated treatment in four weeks, deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH), intraoperative post-lumpectomy radiation, and partial breast irradiation (PBI) using the Strut-Adjusted Volume Implant (SAVI) catheter. We are the first hospital in New York state to be recognized as a Center of Excellence for the SAVI treatment. Using catheters inserted into the breast, SAVI allows the doctor to target specific areas and prevent exposing other parts of the body to unnecessary radiation.
  • Brain tumor—SRS allows us to treat some brain tumor patients in a single session. IMRT and IGRT are also available.
  • Lung cancer—SRS allows us to provide some lung cancer patients with a full course of curative treatment in three to five sessions. IMRT, IGRT, and 3D/conformal treatments are also available.
  • Head and neck cancers—We work closely with our colleagues in surgery and medical oncology when caring for head and neck cancer patients. IMRT, IGRT and 3D/conformal are treatment options.
  • Gynecologic cancers—We have vast experience treating gynecologic cancers on Staten Island. We work closely with our surgical and medical oncology teams to ensure full coordination of care. A full range of brachytherapy options is available for uterine, cervical and vaginal cancers. IMRT and 3D/conformal treatments are also available. 
  • Prostate cancer—We offer a range of prostate cancer treatment options, including IMRT, VMAT, and Calypso. We also offer SBRT, which provides a full course of treatment in just five sessions.
  • Skin cancers—We offer a full range of treatment options for skin cancers, including melanoma.
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