Dr. Theodore Lawrence on advances in radiation therapy for cancer

Theodore Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a world renowned expert in radiation therapy. In this short video, Dr. Lawrence talks about some of the exciting advances in radiation therapy. These include the ability to individualize radiation therapy. Instead of treating all patients with a particular tumor the same, we can now see – while it is happening – how an individual’s tumor is responding to therapy and make adjustments during treatment.

Take the next step:
• If you have questions about radiation therapy, or any aspect of cancer care, call the nurses at the University of Michigan Cancer AnswerLine™. They can help patients or their loved ones find a clinical trial or provide insights into the newest and latest cancer treatments. Feel free to call at 1-800-865-1125 or send an e-mail.


Cancer-center-informal-vertical-sig-150x150The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s 1,000 doctors, nurses, care givers and researchers are united by one thought: to deliver the highest quality, compassionate care while working to conquer cancer through innovation and collaboration. The center is among the top-ranked national cancer programs, and #1 in Michigan according to U.S. News & World Report. Our multidisciplinary clinics offer one-stop access to teams of specialists for personalized treatment plans, part of the ideal patient care experience. Patients also benefit through access to promising new cancer therapies.

Is your course of radiation treatment longer than it needs to be?

patient and doctor in an exam room

Radiation oncologist Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., consults with a patient

Mounting evidence finds that delivering higher doses of radiation per treatment is as effective in some breast cancer patients as a traditional course where smaller doses are given over a longer time period. The new method, called hypofractionation, involves about 3-4 weeks of daily radiation treatments, instead of the usual 5-week or longer course.

But several newly published studies have found that hypofractionated radiation is not widely used.

Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan, led two of these studies. Looking at a national database of patients, she and her colleagues found that hypofractionation was used in only 13.6% of Medicare patients with breast cancer. In Michigan, Jagsi’s other study found, fewer than one-third of patients who fit the criteria for offering this approach got the shorter course of treatment. Continue reading

Radiation therapy and burn concern

radiation therapyRadiation therapy may involve side effects, and symptoms can vary depending on the area treated. For example, a breast cancer patient may notice skin irritation on her chest, like a mild to moderate sunburn, while a patient with cancer in the mouth may have soreness when he swallows. Some patients who are having their midsection treated may report feeling sick to their stomach or diarrhea. I will be focusing on skin changes and self- care tips for patients receiving radiation therapy.

Why is the skin affected?

Radiation is especially effective on cells that Continue reading

Using nutrition to prepare for cancer treatment

prepare for cancer treatmentIf you have run a marathon before, you know there is a good deal of training involved and you need the right kind of fuel to help you succeed. Cancer treatment is like running a marathon, so “training” and “fueling” before you start are just as important. There are two training levels to choose from as you prepare for cancer treatment. The level you choose will depend on how you are feeling prior to treatment.

“Training” Level 1

If you have been able to maintain your weight and tolerate a general diet prior to Continue reading

U-M Radiation Oncology’s partnerships bring radiation therapy closer to home

radiation therapyRadiation therapy is often a treatment option for those diagnosed with cancer. Traveling to receive radiation treatment five times a week for six to eight weeks is not always easy or feasible for some patients. Luckily, the University of Michigan’s Radiation Oncology Department has collaborated with community hospitals to help provide this type of treatment closer to home.

The Radiation Oncology Network is a group of seven centers in Michigan that partner with the U-M Radiation Oncology Department to create a network of facilities Continue reading