What is Radiation Oncology

What is Radiation Oncology

Radiation oncologists use radiation therapy to treat patients with cancer. Radiation therapy makes use of carefully regulated and targeted doses of radiation to kill cancer cells. Northwestern Medicine radiation oncologists work collaboratively with medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, and other physicians to determine the best course of treatment for patients with cancer.

Why Choose Northwestern Medicine for radiation therapy?

The radiation oncology team at Northwestern Medicine offers compassionate care using cutting-edge equipment in a soothing and modern environment that’s close to home. In many cases, you can receive chemotherapy and radiation in the same building, reducing your time traveling or away from home.

About Us

The Northwestern Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology is recognized as one of the leading programs in the country, offering innovative, state-of-the-art radiation therapy services in a setting of multidisciplinary cancer care.

The mission of the Northwestern Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology is to invest heavily in the latest state-of-the-art radiation technology. Cutting edge techniques help our clinicians target your tumor more accurately, plan the optimal radiation dosage, and deliver the most precise pinpoint radiation to your tumor while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.

Northwestern Medicine cancer centers located in Chicago and the northern and western suburbs offer a variety of radiation treatment types, including:

  • Conventional 3D Conformal Radiation: Three dimensional imaging used to develop complex treatment plans to deliver ultra-focused radiation while sparing normal adjacent tissue
  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): delivers precise radiotherapy using linear accelerators to a malignant tumor. IMRT allows for the radiation dose to conform more precisely to the three-dimensional (3D) shape of the tumor and also allows higher doses to be precisely focused on the tumor, while sparing radiation dose to surrounding health tissue.
  • Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT): Uses imaging to confirm the location of your tumor, which improves the accuracy of the treatment
  • Tomotherapy®: Combines CT imaging and a 360 degree radiation delivery system to treat tumors while limiting dose to surrounding healthy organs and tissues.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS): An extremely precise form of high-dose radiation therapy to treat small brain tumors and functional abnormalities of the brain. SRS delivers precisely-targeted radiation at much higher doses, which usually only requires very few treatments.
  • Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SBRT): The delivery of a single high dose radiation treatment or a few fractionated radiation treatments to a malignant tumor.
  • HDR Brachytherapy: Often used to treat prostate, breast and gynecological cancers, brachytherapy, also called internal radiation therapy, allows your radiation oncologist to treat your cancer in a shorter time when compared with external beam radiation treatment. The radiation is delivered via a specialized catheter placed inside your body.
  • Proton therapy*: Precisely targets tumors and causes less damage to the surrounding healthy tissue, making it ideal for:
    • Tumors near critical organs or structures such as the brain or heart
    • Patients with previous radiation therapy
    • Children

Contact Us

Downtown Chicago

To find an Oncologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, call 312.926.2520 (Galter Pavilion) or 312.472.3650 (Prentice).

Northern Suburbs

To find a Radiation Oncologist call 847.535.6135.

Western Suburbs

To find an Oncologist, call 630.352.5450 (Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Warrenville) or 630.262.8554 (Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Delnor).

Greater DeKalb County

For an appointment with radiation oncology at Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital Cancer Center, please call 815.756.4722.

Legal Information

The physicians who practice at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare or any of its affiliate organizations. These physicians have selected our facilities as the place where they want to treat and care for their private patients.