Radiation Oncology

As an integrated program, the Sentara Cancer Network has the opportunity to put advanced technology into the hands of our experienced radiation oncologists.

Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer as well as offer relief from some of the symptoms of cancer. It may be used to treat cancer alone or in combination with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is commonly applied to the cancerous tumor because of its ability to control cell growth and keep the cancerous cell from reproducing. The cancer cells then die and the cancer shrinks. The objective of radiation therapy is to kill enough cancer cells to maximize the probability of a cure and to minimize side effects.

Radiation therapy includes many types of treatment:

  • External Beam Radiation Therapy

    External beam radiation therapy is a method for delivering a beam of high-energy X-rays to the location of the patient’s tumor. This strategy exposes the cancerous tumor to a much larger dose than the surrounding healthy tissue. Ionizing radiation works by damaging the DNA of exposed tissue.

    To prevent non-cancerous tissue from being damaged, the radiation beams are shaped and aimed from several angles of exposure to intersect at the tumor.

    Currently offered at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, Sentara CarePlex Hospital, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, Sentara Obici Hospital, Sentara RMH Medical Center and Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital

  • CyberKnife®

    At Sentara, we understand that being a leader in treating tumors means investing in promising new technologies. Our CyberKnife® robotic radiosurgery system, available at the Sentara Advanced Radiosurgery Center, is the most advanced system of its kind in Hampton Roads.

    CyberKnife is a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney.

    The treatment delivers beams of high-dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy and offers new hope to patients.

    Though its name may conjure images of scalpels and surgery, the CyberKnife treatment involves no cutting. In fact, the CyberKnife system is the world’s first and only robotic radiosurgery system designed to treat tumors throughout the body non-invasively. It provides a pain-free, non-surgical option for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors, or who may be looking for an alternative to surgery.

    For more information about CyberKnife at Sentara: bcove.me/xsqqrnyn

    Currently offered at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital

  • Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT)

    IORT delivers a concentrated beam of radiation to cancerous tumors with high doses of radiation. The tumor is irradiated while it is exposed in an operative suite. The Xoft Electronic Brachytherapy System offers mobility and shielding during the process. Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center offers IORT with the Xoft platform. Sentara CarePlex Hospital introduced IORT to the network during a clinical trial with IntraBeam® in 2007.

    Currently offered at Sentara CarePlex Hospital and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center

  • Brachytherapy/Radioactive Seed Implant Therapy

    Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy where a radioactive source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment. It’s commonly used for gynecologic cancers, urological cancers and early breast cancers. For breast cancer, the radioactive seeds are used to mark the tumor for more precision during surgery.

    Currently offered at Dorothy G. Hoefer Comprehensive Breast Center, Sentara CarePlex Hospital, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Obici Hospital and Sentara RMH Medical Center

  • SIR Spheres® and TheraSphere®

    Selective Internal Radiation (SIR) Spheres Therapy uses microscopic radioactive resin beads to target advanced liver cancer. Millions of microscopic radioactive resin beads (spheres) travel through the bloodstream with one mission: to target and destroy liver cancer cells.
    SIR Spheres® can safely deliver many times more radiation than conventional techniques.

    TheraSphere® is a similar therapy using microscopic glass microspheres
    to target liver tumors. This selective internal radiation therapy delivers radioactive glass beads directly to the liver tumor, for effective concentration of radiation and minimal impact to the surrounding non-targeted tissue. SIR Spheres® and TheraSphere® treatments are a collaboration of experienced medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and interventional radiologists.

    Currently offered at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital

  • High-Dose Rate (HDR) For Skin Cancer

    A mobile radiation option for certain types of skin cancers gives patients a more convenient and targeted treatment. A high-dose rate iridium device, called an HDR unit, uses specially designed applicators inconjunction with the high-dose rate treatments applied directly to the skin. It allows more precise treatment especially for curved or irregular surfaces including those on the face, arms and legs while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.

    Currently offered at Sentara CarePlex Hospital, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Obici Hospital, Sentara RMH Medical Center and Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital

  • Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation

    APBI is a form of brachytherapy (internal breast radiation) in which radioactive substances are placed directly into the breast via a specialized catheter after a lumpectomy. APBI delivers the entire course of radiation within 5-7 days, reducing the time and travel required for the patient. It also radiates the area most likely to have recurrence and reduces the side effects of radiation by sparing normal tissues.

    Currently offered at Sentara CarePlex Hospital, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara RMH Medical Center