The Department of Radiaton Oncology at the University of Florida Shands Hospital provides a full range of radiation treatment services for almost all kinds of tumors at almost all body sites. Equipment and treatment planning are state-of-the-art, and our faculty are world renowned. Frequently, specific patients’ cases are presented at multidisciplinary conferences, and treatment recommendations are developed with input from surgeons, medical oncologists, and other cancer specialists as well as radiation oncologists. These conferences also help train resident physicians and others in the strategies of cancer therapy.
In the Radiation Oncology Department, equipment includes linear accelerators and a cobalt 60 treatment unit for very high energy (megavoltage), external beam radiotherapy with either gamma rays (photons) or electron beams. A lower energy (250 kV), external beam treatment machine is often used for treatment of skin cancer and other superficial types of cancer. Some specialized treatment equipment includes an applicator specifically designed for treatment of the eye (pterygium); a rectal endocavitary applicator specifically designed for treatment of early-stage anal and rectal cancer; an assortment of applicators for temporary placement of radioactive iridium near or into the cancer in gynecologic sites, head and neck sites, and some other tumor sites (implants); and a high-dose-rate brachytherapy machine (“HDR”) used for lung cancer and some other internal tumors.
In cooperation with the Neurosurgery Department, this department is in the forefront for treatment of brain tumors with stereotactic radiosurgery (single or a few treatments with use of a “halo frame”) and is now testing stereotactic radiotherapy (multiple daily stereotactic treatments) using high-precision equipment not requiring placement of the halo frame for every treatment.