Radiation Oncology

When it comes to planning and delivering radiation treatments, clinical judgment is very important. The University of Michigan’s Department of Radiation Oncology is staffed by a well-trained and qualified team of expert physicians, nurses with oncology training, radiation therapists, medical physicists and other specialists. It is very rare for patients with cancer to just get radiation treatment, and our team works with a variety of specialists. Weekly peer review meetings are held to discuss new patients and patients whose treatment has changed. All patients are seen within 72 hours of the time they call for a consultation if they choose.

We are also at the forefront of research. Innovation of our work has been recognized by the fact that we are one of the top National Cancer Institute-funded departments in the country. Our physicians and staff are also actively participating in and developing the latest clinical trials – allowing patients access to investigational treatment options not available at other institutions.

As a leader in treating patients with cancer, providing cutting-edge therapies and compassionate, attentive patient care, we know the importance of collaborating.  With U-M's renowned Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as our statewide Radiation Oncology Network, we provide accessible care throughout the state of Michigan.

We treat thousands of patients and provide countless consultations to patients and their referring physicians every year. Our main services include:

  • Adult and Pediatric Radiation Oncology for the treatment of breast, prostate and liver cancers, as well as many others
  • External beam radiation, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) where a more focused treatment is needed to treat brain, lung, liver and prostate cancers
  • High-dose rate (HDR) and low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy or internal radiation therapy

Leaders In Technology And Research

U-M Radiation Oncology uses the most advanced technology available. For more than a decade we have been treating patients with focused high-dose radiation treatments and have chosen to use an advanced linear accelerator, or LINAC, with customized software that was developed here. We feel LINAC offers advantages in permitting us to make finer adjustments and flexibility in treating you when compared to other technologies available.

Our pioneering research efforts include the invention of 3-D treatment planning; now a standard practice worldwide, that helps us define where the tumor is and set up treatment. We have continued this research by developing a unique method of delivering intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This method helps us better direct radiation to the areas we want to treat and minimize doses to normal tissue we don’t want to target, thus reducing side effects.

Other innovative technologies offered at U-M that help us target the cancer and spare normal tissue includes:

  • Active Breathing Control Device. A respiratory motion manager that helps us reduce the risk of damage to the heart and surrounding areas when treating certain cancers in the abdomen, chest and thoracic areas, such as breast cancer.
  • 4-D CT. Technology that takes images that don't just capture the tumor, but also the movement of the body's organs or the tumor over time. This is very important when treating tumors located on or near organs that move, such as lung cancer. 
  • The Calypso 4-D Localization System. Also known as “GPS for the prostate,” U-M was the first cancer center in Michigan to offer this system that helps us guide the external beam radiation to the exact location of the prostate.
  • Adapting therapy through the use of functional and metabolic imaging.
  • Combining new molecularly targeted therapies with radiation therapy.

We are committed to continuing the pioneering work done at U-M and are currently studying better ways to treat lung, liver, head and neck cancers. We also offer ongoing clinical trials through Radiation Oncology and other U-M Health System departments.