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Radiation Oncology

At Johns Hopkins, radiation oncologists who treat esophageal cancer focus on one thing only: what the patient needs to ensure the best possible outcome for his or her diagnosis. Having the latest and most advanced technology is not enough. Each patient’s radiation plan is custom-made for the unique interplay between tumor and normal tissue, according to Johns Hopkins radiation oncologists who treats esophageal cancer. Because every person is different, the ability to use this technology requires an understanding of the delicate balance between normal tissue and a tumor in the chest.

A radiation oncologist who specializes in the treatment of esophageal cancer has specific experience and expertise that is hard to find elsewhere. While it is certainly more convenient for patients to go for radiation closer to home, the treatment at other centers is often generalized. Radiation oncologists at Johns Hopkins work with thousands of patients each year, hundreds of whom have esophageal cancer.

It is that dedicated reliance on experience and specialization that patients should look for in a radiation oncologist. Our dedicated teams understand that it’s not easy for some patients to come here for daily treatments but when they do, they complete their treatment knowing that they have done everything they could to extend their lives.

Planning the safest, most effective treatment

For esophageal cancer patients, the multi-disciplinary team at Johns Hopkins will often recommend neoadjuvant therapy—giving chemotherapy and radiation treatment immediately, followed by surgery. Treating with chemotherapy and radiation together treats microscopic tumors that have developed beyond the original tumor site, which can halt any further spread of the cancer. Patients also recover more quickly from the radiation and chemotherapy when they are done before surgery rather than after.

Personalizing treatment: Planning radiation treatment is personalized to each patient. Johns Hopkins experts look at the clinical context for each patient—diagnosis, prognosis, situation, and needs—to decide what is right for that patient. Our experts may use intensity-modulated radiation therapy (also known as IMRT) for a patient whose tumor is best treated with this technology. Another patient may be better treated with 3D conformal radiation. We use the safest, most effective treatment we have for each patient.

Protecting healthy tissue: It’s important to minimize the likelihood that healthy tissue is irreparably altered by the treatment. Our understanding of the safety parameters for normal tissues has improved in the last decade. Experts at Johns Hopkins plan a patient’s treatment to maximize the appropriate radiation dose while staying within parameters that protect normal tissues.

When it comes to radiation, our experts always err on the side of caution. Radiation is a powerful tool in the fight against cancer that must be used judiciously by a doctor who not only has extensive experience and specialization but also can rely on other members of a multi-disciplinary team to provide insight in the unique features of a patient’s tumor.

Ensuring safety: The Department of Radiation Oncology created a comprehensive safety program, unique to Johns Hopkins, that employs the equipment and treatment quality assurance protocols required by the industry and the State of Maryland. The department also integrates innovative safety techniques developed at Johns Hopkins such as checklists, time-out procedures, case reviews, and other steps that ensure the highest possible level of safety.

For an appointment and answers to your questions

As a leading treatment center for esophageal cancer, Johns Hopkins sees between 50 and 100 newly diagnosed patients a year, providing a depth of experience that assures our patients that they will receive the best possible treatment plan for their diagnosis.

To make an appointment or if you have questions, call 410-933-5420.