Welcome to Radiation Oncology
Welcome Message From Dr. Ellen Jones, Interim Chair
In March of 2023, Larry Marks, MD, announced his plans to step down from his position as Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology so that he can focus his efforts on culture and quality throughout the School of Medicine. The Office of the Dean of the UNC School of Medicine has initiated a national search to fill this position. In the meantime, it is my honor to take on the challenging work of the interim chair position. This new role comes on the heels of my 15th year as Vice Chair of UNC RadOnc; thus, I have much invested in our department.
The department is housed in the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, where we offer the following services:
- External Beam Radiation Therapy: Using state-of-the-art linear accelerators, X-rays or electrons are focused on the tumor while trying to avoid damage to surrounding normal tissues.
- Intensity-Modulated and Image-Guided Radiation Therapy: External beam radiation therapy that allows radiation doses to be delivered to the tumor more accurately, while further minimizing damage to surrounding normal tissues.
- TomoTherapy: External beam radiation therapy in which the radiation is delivered to the tumor in a series of small slices, rather than irradiating the whole tumor at once. This improves accuracy even more and further minimizes damage to surrounding normal tissues.
- CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery: External beam radiation therapy that allows physicians to irradiate small tumors virtually anywhere in the body with the highest level of precision. This is useful because some tumors can’t be removed by traditional surgery without involving significant risks.
- Mobetron Intraoperative Radiotherapy: Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) consists of a large single dose of electrons generated by a portable linear accelerator and delivered during cancer surgery through the surgical incision. The goal of IORT is to treat the “tumor bed”—the local area where the tumor used to be before it was surgically removed—which could still contain microscopic deposits of cancer. Normal tissue damage is minimized by either moving nearby organs out of the radiation field, or else shielding them from the radiation exposure.
- Brachytherapy: The use of radioactive capsules, wires or “seeds” that are implanted in and around a patient’s tumor, either temporarily or permanently. Brachytherapy is commonly used for gynecological cancers and a few others. The brachytherapy room provides live imaging of the treatment area as the radioactive materials are implanted, allowing procedures to be completed more quickly and accurately.