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Half of all cancer patients will receive radiation therapy during their illness. At UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center’s Department of Radiation Oncology, patients have access to some of the most advanced radiation treatment technologies available anywhere, designed to increase the safety and effectiveness of radiation treatment. Treating more than 4,100 individuals with cancer each year, our patient-centric focus combined with state-of-the art technology means patients can expect the best treatment possible.

We are the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center  in North Texas and one of only 57 NCI-designated comprehensive care centers in the nation. As such, we are held to the highest of standards and are recognized for excellence in patient care, as well as clinical trials, research and education. Our main priority is and always will be our patients – their outcomes, safety, and entire healing experience.

Our facilities are accredited by the  Joint Commission and the  American College of Radiology – the gold standard for ensuring safety, quality, and patient care standards.

Personalized Care

We provide personalized radiation therapy treatment plans based on the unique characteristics of an individual’s cancer, including the type, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as their overall health. Our physicians and oncology-trained staff, which includes physicists, biologists, medical dosimetrists, radiation therapists, nurses, and support staff, are divided into disease-oriented teams, so patients receive care by those who specialize in their specific cancer.

We offer treatment for all types of cancer, including:

Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and will affect one in eight women during her lifetime. At UT Southwestern, we offer multidisciplinary care, including a breast-specific tumor board, that brings all specialists under one roof to devise the best treatment plan for each patient. Our breast cancer team, led by Asal Rahimi, M.D., also offers multiple cutting-edge radiation clinical trials.

What sets us apart?

  • We have the most comprehensive deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH)-based cardiac-sparing radiation treatment program in North Texas for patients with left-sided breast cancer.
  • The GammaPod is the first stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) system optimized for treating breast cancer. By using principles of stereotactic radiotherapy to deliver higher doses in one to five treatment fractions, GammaPod can both reduce treatment time and potentially lower the toxicity of treatment. Learn more about the GammaPod.
  • Two Vision RT surface image-guided systems dedicated for patients requiring left breast radiation treatments.
  • Two Active Breathing Coordinator (ABC) machines used to monitor patients requiring breast/chest wall and lymph node treatments.
  • Ongoing, active research in deep inspiration breath hold (DIBH)-based cardiac-sparing radiation treatment delivery.
Central nervous system cancer

The CNS team, led by Zabi Wardak, M.D., works alongside neurosurgery specialists as well as the radiation oncology team.

What sets us apart?

  • Our disease-site-specific team treats a higher volume of patients than any other center in North Texas.
  • Both malignant and benign brain tumors are treated on our Gamma Knife Icon – the newest Gamma Knife – or the CyberKnife M6, both of which deliver increased protection to patients and highly focused radiation to tumors. The Icon doesn’t require head restraints as used in previous models, allowing for a better patient experience. Additionally, treatments are less restricted with the Icon as we’re able to spread out the treatments in smaller doses, which is better-tolerated by normal tissues. For patients with multiple tumors, we’re able to spread treatments over the course of several days.
Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer

Gastrointestinal cancer, which includes any cancer that starts in the digestive system, can be particularly challenging to treat. Our GI team, led by Nina Sanford, M.D., offers the most modern technologies in treating gastrointestinal cancers, including 3-D conformal radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), and brachytherapy, and we offer comprehensive care for people with all types and stages of GI cancer.

What sets us apart?

  • Our comprehensive stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) program offers multiple open protocols for pancreatic cancer, treatment of primary and metastatic cancers of the liver (the latter in as few as a single treatment), and definitive treatment of cholangiocarcinoma in coordination with our liver transplantation program.
  • Our advanced intraoperative radiation therapy program is available to assist our surgical teams in the management of locally advanced and recurrent gastrointestinal malignancies.
  • We are one of the few radiation oncology programs in the country that offers interstitial brachytherapy for liver lesions (primary cancer on protocol, metastatic as standard of care).
  • A palliative brachytherapy program for esophageal cancer, malignant obstructive biliary disease, and rectal cancer.
  • We have site-specific tumor boards for liver and pancreatic cancers and general tumor boards for GI malignancies affecting both thoracic and abdominal/pelvic sites.
Genitourinary (GU) cancer

Led by Raquibul Hannan, M.D., Ph.D., our genitourinary team cares for all GU cancers and offers a variety of treatment options, including stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), RapidArc intensity-modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, HDR and LDR brachytherapy, and CyberKnife. Treatments are chosen and individualized to each patient based on their specific disease and baseline symptoms. Our multidisciplinary groups work together to not only treat patients, but to better address side effects.

What sets us apart?

  • We offer SBRT for kidney cancer for both primary and metastatic sites.
  • For prostate cancer patients, we offer SpaceOAR, a gel that increases the space between the prostate and rectum during radiation therapy. The goals are to reduce the sexual side effects after treatment and radiation to the lining of the rectum. Our team, an early adopter of the gel, is now a leading training site for other centers wanting to bring this technology to their center.
  • A variety of GU clinical trials – most of which were designed here at UT Southwestern – including several for prostate and kidney cancers.
Gynecological cancer

Kevin Albuquerque, M.D., head of our gynecology cancer team, specializes in internal radiation therapy (brachytherapy) – in particular, interstitial brachytherapy – one of the few centers in North Texas to offer this specialty. Based on a patient’s needs and specific cancer, we offer both inpatient and outpatient high-dose-rate brachytherapy.

What sets us apart?

  • Brachytherapy is preferred for most gynecologic cancer sites and organs because of their proximity to the vagina where we can use special instruments internally to get closer to the tumor. Combined with the high doses of radiation, this means we’re able to kill the tumors faster. Brachytherapy has been shown to improve the outcome in patients with advanced cervical cancer and reduced associated complications.
  • We have radiation treatment options for patients with uterine cancer that are unable to have surgery.
  • We offer access to regional and national gynecological cancer clinical trials.
Head and neck cancer

Our head and neck radiation oncologists focus only on head and neck cancer, which means that they have a level of expertise unparalleled with other cancer programs. Led by David Sher, M.D., M.P.H., our head and neck team works collaboratively and meets regularly with other specialists, including neuroradiologists and head and neck pathologists, to ensure each patient receives one-on-one personalized care.

What sets us apart?

  • We are the busiest head and neck cancer team in North Texas, which translates to the most experience.
  • We offer some of the most advanced and innovative treatment protocols.
  • Onsite dietitians to help with challenges some head and neck patients encounter.
  • Clinical trials focused on reducing toxicity to healthy tissue.
Lung cancer

Lung cancer requires specialized care based on each patient’s specific needs. Our lung cancer team, led by Ken Westover, M.D., Ph.D., offers our patients some of the most effective techniques in radiation treatment.

What sets us apart?

  • Expertise in stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and in combining radiation with systemic therapy in the oligometastatic disease setting.
  • Integration of immunotherapy in most facets of lung cancer treatment with radiation.
  • A variety of clinical trial offerings.

Lymphoma can affect any part of the body where lymph nodes normally exist. Our team of medical oncologists, bone marrow transplantation specialists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, nurses, and care coordinators work together to give the best possible multidisciplinary treatment options to each individual patient. Kiran Kumar, M.D., M.B.A., leads the radiation oncology arm of the team.

What sets us apart?

  • Total skin electron therapy for advanced cutaneous lymphoma.
  • Low-dose radiation response-based treatment for cutaneous lymphomas and indolent B-cell lymphomas, which allows us to reduce dose, treatment time, and side effects.
  • Deep inspiration breath-hold treatment of chest sites of lymphoma, which helps reduce dose and long-term side effects to the heart and lungs.
Pediatric cancer

Our faculty and staff have the most experience in North Texas for treating pediatric cancers. In addition, we have specialty-trained doctors and pediatric nursing and anesthesia for children that require special services. Kiran Kumar, M.D., M.B.A., leads the our pediatric services for radiation treatment.

What sets us apart?

  • Our team has staff privileges at Children’s Health and is responsible for all radiation therapy cancer care for their patients.
  • The most precise radiation delivery equipment available capable of delivering intended dose to tumor while sparing adjacent normal tissues.
  • As full members in the national Children’s Oncology Group and recipients of National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants for pediatric cancer care, we are involved in determining the next generations of therapy for children with cancer.

Offering a multidisciplinary approach, our sarcoma team treats all varieties of bone and soft-tissue sarcomas – from the rare and complex to the more common and straightforward.

We also offer palliative radiation therapy to help ease the side effects of treatment or pain. Visit our patient resources for information on treatment for specific cancers.

"Comprehensive cancer care increasingly means more personalized care. We’re committed to providing a unique treatment that is effective and makes sense."

Robert Timmerman, M.D., Chair and Professor

Adaptive Radiation Therapy

For years, UT Southwestern has been a recognized leader in radiation oncology, advancing research in stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and personalized patient care using artificial intelligence. In May 2021, we added 71,000 square feet of space dedicated to a new avenue of treatment advances – adaptive therapy. This approach combines real-time imaging, artificial intelligence, and modern radiation techniques enabling ultra-precise treatment delivery that can quickly be adapted to changes in patients’ anatomy and tumor size.

PULSAR™, or personalized ultrafractionated stereotactic adaptive radiotherapy, is at the heart of our adaptive radiation therapy program. PULSAR starts with a large “pulse” of radiation therapy, which we can then titrate, or adjust, in subsequent doses depending on how the tumor responds between longer treatment intervals. PULSAR technology may even provoke an immune response, increasing the patient’s natural ability to fight cancer.