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COVID-19: What people with cancer need to know

Welcome To Radiation Oncology

Lawrence Marks, MD

Welcome Message From the Chair

Welcome to the UNC Department of Radiation Oncology. Our dedicated and hard-working faculty and staff strive to exemplify UNC Health’s motto “Leading, Teaching, Caring”. The Department supports the Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous communities, and all others who hold marginalized identities, and pledges to combat racism in all its forms. We are taking action to further promote diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels within our department so that everyone feels safe and is treated with the highest levels of respect and dignity.

We have a longstanding and strong tradition of leadership and innovation in the field of radiation oncology. In particular, we have pioneered the use of computer-assisted, image-guided therapy. This allows us to focus the radiation on the tumor, while minimizing the risks to the surrounding normal organs. We have an active research team and strive to translate advances from the laboratory to the clinic to benefit our patients.

This translational research focus reflects our continuing commitment to state of the art patient care and to the training of the next generation of radiation oncologists and other radiotherapy professionals.

In 2009, we moved into the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, where the Department offers 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.

We are proud to be part of this great university that provides excellent care and service to the citizens of North Carolina. As one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, we welcome patients from throughout the state and beyond.

We invite you to learn more about our Department and its clinical, research and education programs.

Lawrence B. Marks, M.D.

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