High Dose Radiation

Program Goal

To provide rapid dose cancer treatment, limiting radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue, reducing treatment sessions from many weeks to just a few days, offering a quicker, more convenient, cost effective and efficient type of radiation treatment for many patients.


St. Mary’s Oncology Services provides a full continuum of cancer care, from diagnosis and education to treatment. Specialties are focused on the greatest needs, which are breast, lung, lower gastrointestinal cancers and melanoma.

Always know for excellence in care, our oncology staff provides the personalized care of a community hospital with the staff and tools of a major urban medical center. Patient appreciation of our care team—from from the infusion center to the floor nurses, physicians and surgeons—is extremely high, with four- or five-star service ratings from patients every month since the new center’s opening in 2011.

The Cancer Center has received ACOS Cancer Program Accreditation with a gold level six commendations for excellence. Radiation Oncology has received a prestigious three-year accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR). St. Mary’s was the second hospital in San Francisco to be a recipient, and our Women’s Health Center has been designated as a Breast Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology for accreditation in all breast imaging modalities.

Advancing Medicine with High Dose Radiation

As opposed to an external beam of radiation, High Dose Radiation (HDR) therapy delivers high doses of radiation directly inside of or adjacent to the tumor. The procedure is directed under CT and Fluoroscopic guidance. Tiny hollow catheters are temporarily inserted directly into or alongside a tumor. A protected source of high energy radiation is placed within the catheters using radioactive plaques, needles, tubes, wires, or small "seeds" made of radionuclides.

These radioactive materials are placed over the surface of the tumor or implanted within the tumor, or placed within a body cavity surrounded by the tumor. Computer guidance controls the targeting of the location of tumors, and how long the radiation source stays in the catheter to release its radiation dose. After a series of treatments, the catheter is removed leaving no radioactive source in the body.

$ 300,000 - Total Need
$   50,000 - Fundraising Remaining



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