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A Message from Curtis Miyamoto, MD
Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology
Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Associate Director for Clinical Services, Fox Chase Cancer Center

Temple University is a large, well known international university with  a first rate cancer program. The mission of the Department of Radiation Oncology is to provide the very best level of care to every patient in a comfortable and professional environment. The department has been named a “Center of Excellence” by one of the world’s two largest and most innovative manufacturers of radiation oncology devices, ELEKTA. It is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons. Among the services provided are 3-dimensional conformal and Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, intracranial and extracranial stereotactic radiosurgery, total skin and total body irradiation, prostate and gynecologic brachytherapy, Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) and standard conventional irradiation.

Three-dimensional (conforming radiation precisely around a target volume), IMRT (modulation of the intensity of irradiation within each treatment field to better conform the beams around and within a target volume to better spare the surrounding normal structures), and standard radiation therapy can be performed on anyone of our three state-of-the art Synergy® platform linear accelerators (medical radiation treatment machines). These machines  have high resolution IMRT (maximum precision beam modulation throughout the entire treatment field) and a “cone beam" (CT scan mounted on the linear accelerator to provide real time imaging of the patient during treatment to give maximum assurance that the intended target is in the field and that the normal structures are protected). A large opening General Electric (GE) CT scan device with high precision lasers allows the creation of virtual 3-dimensional images in the computer to allow for ideal positioning of patients, comfort, and high precision radiation treatment planning.

The Department of Radiation Oncology has a modern specialty device known as the Leksell Gamma Knife® 4C. This device permits the precise treatment of lesions in the brain utilizing image fusion (the ability to fuse different diagnostic images from CT, MRI, angiograms and PET scans into an overlapping picture to benefit from the unique information provided by the different techniques), maximal safety and comfort, and the shortest procedure time. This along with the Synergy® S machine provides the ultimate combination for stereotactic irradiation for any lesion in the brain or spinal cord. The Synergy® S can also perform high dose precision stereotactic irradiation to any organ.

Cutaneous T cell lymphoma or mycosis fungoides has been a relatively rare disease in the past. Over the last few years it is becoming diagnosed more frequently. These patients often require a highly specialized treatment know as Total Skin Electron Beam or TSEB. Dr. Bizhan Micaily is one of the most experienced physicians in the world in treating this disease. He has designed a “one-of-a-kind” positioning device specifically for TSEB. Patients often drive hours each way to receive this type of highly specialized treatment.

Brachytherapy, or the placement of radioactive sources into the body--either temporarily or permanently to treat cancer--is an important option for many patients. Temple provides these services in cooperation with other cancer-treating Departments. This includes gynecologic and prostate implants. For prostate cancer patients who are candidates for this treatment, it can provide a single same day treatment. For gynecology patients, Temple has one of the busiest and most experience gynecologic implant services in the region.

As an academic program there is participation in both institutional and national investigational studies. This includes protocols from the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (or RTOG) and other cooperative groups. These are federally-funded organizations that look at new ways to treat patients with radiation therapy. Only after a rigorous review process  is a hospital allowed to participate. There are also investigational protocols done in cooperation with other medical school programs such as a study utilizing a new medication to prevent mucositis (irritation of the linings of the mouth) during treatment with both radiation and chemotherapy. Dr. Mohan Achary is a well-known radiation biologist in the Department of Radiation Oncology performing cutting edge research in new methods of determining which cancers would respond best to radiation and chemotherapy. This would allow for customized treatment for each cancer and each patient.

Additional services offered by the cancer program include dedicated social workers and nutritionists. There is a Spanish-speaking radiation oncologist, patient interviewer, nursing assistant and social worker. There are language line services for other non-English speaking patients. Free educational literature is available and given to all new patients.

It is our sincere hope that all patients treated here in the Department of Radiation Oncology will experience individualized, professional, and compassionate care. We know that our patients are going through a very critical time in their lives and we feel privileged that they have the confidence to place their health and life in the hands of Temple. Every member of our staff feels a great responsibility toward our patients and tries to make their time with us as positive as possible. We are proud to be able to say with confidence that they are being treated by the very best.