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Types of Cancer We Treat

Radiation Oncology

Brain and Spine Tumor Program

Treatment
linear acceleratorStereotactic Radiosurgery - Stereotactic radiosurgery is an advanced technology that allows delivery of very precise radiation therapy in high doses to the exact tumor location. The procedure can be used to shrink a tumor instead of surgical removal and as a follow-up to surgery to eliminate any tumor cells that remain after surgery. At right, the Varian Trilogy Linear Accelerator at GMC can deliver conventional and stereotactic approaches to treating cancer.

Our Team
Thomas Gergel, MD, Radiation Oncologist

Breast Cancer

Treatment
External Beam Radiotherapy and Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) - Radiation therapy is given once per day over a period of five - seven weeks. Each treatment takes about 15 minutes. Patients meet with their physician or physician assistant weekly.  

Patients with left-sided breast cancer who undergo radiation therapy are at a higher risk for cardiac disease in later years. Geisinger uses a technique called Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) to lower the radiation dose to the heart. In DIBH the patient holds a deep breath in during treatment. This moves the heart down and away from the radiation field. The level of motion is monitored automatically to ensure that the treatment will only occur with sufficient motion. Geisinger is the only regional facility to offer this simple yet effective treatment technique to lower heart dose.

HDR Brachytherapy - Some women may be eligible to be treated with breast conserving surgery and only a week of radiation instead of the normal five weeks of radiation therapy. By placing a specialized balloon into the surgical cavity radiation can be delivered directly to the tumor site using a high dose rate remote afterloader. Treatments are given twice a day, six hours apart for five days. This shortens the overall treatment time while maintaining the effectiveness of the therapy.

Our Team
Douglas Christie, MD, Radiation Oncologist
Thomas Gergel, MD, Radiation Oncologis
Uzma Malik, MD, Radiation Oncologist GWV

Gastrointestinal, Colorectal, Liver and Pancreatic Cancers

Our Team
Douglas Christie, MD, Radiation Oncologist
Thomas Gergel, MD, Radiation Oncologist
Robert Rostock, MD, Radiation Oncologist GWV

Genitourinary Cancer

Treatment
Brachytherapy, Radioactive Seed Implants - Some men choose to have (radiation) a prostate seed implant and chemotherapy to treat prostate cancer instead of surgery. Geisinger is the only facility in the area which offers seed implantation using a novel radioisotope, Cesium-131. Cesium has a short active life which has been shown to shorten the duration of side-effects, one of many treatment options available. In this procedure, radioactive seeds are placed into the prostate in the operating room under ultrasound guidance. Each patient has a customized treatment plan which shows the physicians exactly where to place each seed. Most patients are discharged from the hospital on the day of the implant.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - Patients may choose to receive IMRT treatments in the Department of Radiation Oncology. IMRT treatments are delivered on the linear accelerators using many small, variable radiation fields. By using IMRT the radiation dose to the bladder and rectum can be minimized while delivering a high dose to the prostate gland. Using IGRT each day the prostate is identified using X-ray imaging and the patient is moved into the proper treatment position. Treatments generally take about 15 minutes and are delivered daily over approximately eight weeks.

Our Team
Omar Yumen, MD, Radiation Oncologist
Robert Rostock, MD, Radiation Oncologist GWV

Gynocological Cancer

Treatment
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - Patients may choose to receive IMRT treatments in the Department of Radiation Oncology. IMRT treatments are delivered on the linear accelerators using many small, variable radiation fields. By using IMRT the radiation dose to normal tissues can be minimized while delivering a high dose to the cancer. Using IGRT each day the target location is identified using X-ray imaging and the patient is moved into the proper treatment position. Treatments generally take about 15 minutes and are delivered daily over approximately five - six weeks.

High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy - Some patients may be treated with HDR brachytherapy. In this procedure an applicator is placed into the vagina. A computer-controlled device called an afterloader moves a radioactive source through the applicator to treat the affected area. Treatments using a vaginal cylinder take from five to 15 minutes and are done without the need for any sedation. Treatments for cervical cancer may require light sedation and can take up to two hours for the entire procedure. All procedures are outpatient and are generally given one or two times per week for three to six total treatments.

Our Team
 Douglas Christie, MD, Radiation Oncologist

Head and Neck Cancer

Treatment
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - Patients may receive IMRT treatments in the Department of Radiation Oncology. IMRT treatments are delivered on the linear accelerators using many small, variable radiation fields. By using IMRT the radiation dose to normal tissues can be minimized while delivering a high dose to the cancer. Using IGRT each day the target location is identified using X-ray imaging and the patient is moved into the proper treatment position. Treatments generally take about 15 minutes and are delivered daily over approximately five - six weeks.

Our Team
Omar Yumen, MD, Radiation Oncologist

Lung and Esophageal Cancer

Treatment
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - Patients may receive IMRT treatments in the Department of Radiation Oncology. IMRT treatments are delivered on the linear accelerators using many small, variable radiation fields. By using IMRT the radiation dose to normal tissues can be minimized while delivering a high dose to the cancer. Using IGRT each day the target location is identified using X-ray imaging and the patient is moved into the proper treatment position. Treatments generally take about 15 minutes and are delivered daily over approximately five - six weeks.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) - For small lung tumors stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) may be an option instead of surgery. SBRT uses precisely targeted beams of radiation to ablate a tumor. Patients generally receive between one and five treatments on the linear accelerator in radiation oncology. Before each treatment the tumor location is determined by CT scan and the patient is moved into the precise position. Multiple beams of radiation are directed at the tumor during each treatment. The total treatment time is about 45 minutes.

Our Team
Thomas Gergel, MD, Radiation Oncologist

Musculoskeletal Cancer

Our Team
Omar Yumen, MD, Radiation Oncologist

Pediatric Cancer

Treatment
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) - Patients may receive IMRT treatments in the Department of Radiation Oncology. IMRT treatments are delivered on the linear accelerators using many small, variable radiation fields. By using IMRT the radiation dose to normal tissues can be minimized while delivering a high dose to the cancer. Using IGRT each day the target location is identified using X-ray imaging and the patient is moved into the proper treatment position. Treatments generally take about 15 minutes and are delivered daily over approximately three - four weeks.

Our Team
Thomas Gergel, MD, Radiation Oncologist