Radiation Oncology

  • Radiation oncology (also called radiation therapy) is the process of using radiation to kill cancer cells. When doctors administer a very precise, single treatment of radiation therapy to one area, it's called radiosurgery. The Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute at Memorial University Medical Center offers the most advanced radiation therapy and radiosurgery services in southeast Georgia.

    Intrabeam ACI  

    In October 2012, we were the first hospital in Georgia to offer INTRABEAM® intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) for women with early-stage breast cancer.

    The standard treatment for early-stage breast cancer is breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by six weeks of daily whole breast radiation therapy. The surgery removes the tumor while the radiation therapy destroys any remaining cancer cells and helps prevent a recurrence.

    INTRABEAM IORT combines surgery and radiation into a single procedure to shorten treatment time, minimize side effects, and maximize radiation therapy benefits. The INTRABEAM applicator is placed in the tumor cavity during surgery. It delivers low-energy radiation directly into the tumor bed for 20 to 30 minutes. The radiation is absorbed over a 1 to 2 centimeter depth, minimizing damage to surrounding tissue.

    INTRABEAM was the only IORT delivery system studied in an international randomized controlled clinical trial called TARGIT-A. The study found that 85 percent of women who qualified for and received IORT did not need additional radiation treatment after the procedure. For the 15 percent who did need additional whole breast radiation therapy, the IORT served as a “boost” dose and cut five to seven days off of their post-surgery treatment.

    Our IORT Experts  

    To learn more about INTRABEAM IORT, call 912-350-PINK.


    Truebeam ACI  

    TrueBeam™

    In 2011, we became the first facility in Savannah to offer TrueBeam cancer technology. The Varian TrueBeam delivers radiation therapy for more types of cancer with better accuracy, precision, and safety than any other radiation therapy system. With TrueBeam, we can deliver stereotactic radiosurgery and body radiotherapy in as little as five to 10 minutes. With the older CyberKnife technology, radiosurgery treatments could take as long as two hours.


    Precision and Accuracy

    The Anderson Cancer Institute offers superior technology for mapping and detecting cancer. Many tumors change location because of breathing and normal organ motion. We can track tumor movement using respiratory gating and the implantation of fiducial markers. This is done through CT technology built into the radiation equipment, as well as four-dimensional PET/CT treatment planning.

    Careful planning allows us to deliver a precise beam of radiation directly to the cancer with little or no damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Thanks to our Varian TrueBeam STx, we can deliver an extremely high dose of radiation with sub-millimeter accuracy, reducing treatment times and side effects.


    Our Radiation Oncologists
    Radiation oncology treatments are planned by our board-certified radiation oncologists.

    They work closely with medical physicists and dosimetrists to develop precise treatment plans. All treatment is delivered by experienced radiation therapists and is supported by a team of nurses and other healthcare professionals.


    Graphic of radiation historyTypes of Radiation Therapy We Offer  

    • Stereotactic radiosurgery — high-dose radiation is delivered directly into tumors located in the brain or skull. Memorial University Medical Center has been using this therapy since 1989.
    • Stereotactic radiotherapy — high-dose radiation is delivered to the lung, liver, or bones. This usually requires tracking of respiration (respiratory gating) and the implantation of fiducial markers directly into tumors before treatment. The Anderson Cancer Institute has been using this technology since 2006.
    • Radioembolization, selective internal radiotherapy — injection of radioactive particles into the liver for primary and metastatic liver cancers. This therapy has been shown to improve response rates and prolong survival in some cancers.
    • Advanced image guided radiotherapy/IGRT — uses daily CT scanning to accurately pinpoint the tumor location and tumor movement so that the most precise beam of radiation can be delivered. This is also used for implanted fiducial markers in prostate cancer and stereotactic body radiotherapy. Using fiducial markers in prostate cancer for image guidance is a technique that maximizes the cure rate and minimizes the risk of toxicity.
    • Respiratory gating — use of technology to map small changes in tumor location that occur as a result of normal breathing. This tool is especially effective in lung and liver tumors. Gating is also used in left-side breast cancers to minimize or eliminate radiation to the heart.
    • PET/CT treatment planning — using new imaging technology, we can diagnose cancer earlier, pinpoint tumor locations more accurately, and better assess how well a person is responding to cancer treatment. The Anderson Cancer Institute's PET/CT 600 offers some of the highest image sensitivity in the industry.
    • High dose rate therapy — placing a high dose of radiation directly into the tumor via catheters implanted within the body or tumor. This technique may result in fewer treatments overall.
    • Partial breast irradiation — a specific breast cancer treatment that uses a very high dose of internal radiation and cuts total treatment time down to five days instead of the standard six weeks. 
    • Prostate cancer seed implants — implanting many small radioactive seeds directly into the prostate to kill the cancer cells. 
    • Unsealed source radiotherapy — Zevalin, Quadramet, I-131, — small, radioactive substances that are taken by mouth or injected into the body to kill cancerous cells such as lymphomas, thyroid cancer, and bony metastases.

    To learn more about our radiation therapy services, call 912-350-8795.