Frank Gulden Radiation Oncology Center
Radiation oncology, cancer surgery and medical oncology are the three pillars of cancer care. When patients need radiation treatment, they can receive it at Southside's Frank Gulden Radiation Oncology Center, which is based within the hospital but has its own parking, entry and service desk for convenience. The attractive and spacious center offers advanced treatment options to patients in the region. It is known for the painstaking planning and careful treatment that's required for patients to safely receive radiation's benefits. The Gulden Center's radiation oncologists and other physicians (its medical physicist, radiation therapists and other professionals) are highly skilled and experienced.
The Gulden Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology, recognition that the care it provides, its types of treatment, safety, and programs to assure high-quality care, all meet national standards.
Becoming a Patient
All radiation oncology patients must have a referral from a doctor for treatment. While most patients are referred to the Gulden Center by their doctors, others choose it for therapy after consulting several facilities. For more information, or to visit the center, please call (631) 968-3636 for an appointment. Appointments for initial consultations can be made either by patients or their physicians. The appointment desk staff will explain what information should be brought for a consultation. We encourage patients to bring a family member or friend to this important first visit and discussion.
Planning Your Treatment
Before beginning radiation therapy, careful planning is necessary. The length of treatment, the time of each treatment session, the radiation dosage, and the best form of radiation therapy are determined during treatment planning. Radiation therapy may require custom-made devices to keep patients both comfortable and immobile during treatment. A series of x-rays (called localization films) or CT scans may be necessary to help design treatment. At the radiation oncologist's direction, the medical physicist calculates dosages and times using a computerized planning system. Before actual treatment begins, patients will have one or more simulated treatments to determine the best technique and position for treatment.
Three-dimensional planning visualizes a tumor from several different perspectives to give the most accurate information about its dimensions. The Gulden Center uses a very advanced three-dimensional conformal treatment planning system to shape the high-energy beam used in therapy. Three-dimensional planning is particularly valuable in designing radiation treatment for prostate, breast, brain, head and neck, and some forms of lung cancer, because it is so precise and helps calculate a uniform radiation dose.
High Dose Radiation Therapy
At Southside Hospital, high dose radiation is used to treat many kinds of cancer, including cancer of the esophagus, kidney, lung, cervix or endometrium. It is one of the fastest, most accurate, and most convenient ways to give patients radiation therapy. High-dose brachytherapy uses a tiny, radioactive "seed" introduced in the body for pinpoint treatment.
Southside uses a new brachytherapy technology called MammoSite for women with life-threatening, early-stage breast cancer. This system reduces the treatment time from weeks to days, limits radiation exposure and reduces the risk of infection.
Conformal Therapy/Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
The center's linear accelerator generates a powerful, high-energy beam that sends radiation to a tumor with minimal damage to the tissue surrounding it. This is done by shaping the beam of energy to match the shape of the tumor, creating a virtual outline of the area to be treated and sparing nearby tissues and organs.
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) uses computer-controlled X-ray accelerators to deliver a precise dose of radiation to a malignant tumor or specific areas within the tumor. This process minimizes radiation exposure to surrounding normal tissues. IMRT may be used for specific conditions.
Prostate Seed Implantation
High-dose brachytherapy is a minimally invasive treatment often used to treat prostate cancer. It uses potent radioactive seeds placed in the tumor itself, where they provide radiation for a very specific time period. Because it uses fine needles rather than surgical scalpels, there is less risk of complications such as incontinence or impotence. Since the radiation affects a small area and the seeds deliver a high dose of radiation, treatment takes much less time and recovery is faster. In addition, because high-dose brachytherapy is a one-time procedure, patients do not need to make daily trips to the radiation oncology center. Southside's urologists and radiation oconcologists have many years experience in using brachytherapy to treat prostate cancer.
The radiation oncologist may offer patients meeting certain criteria opportunities to take part in national clinical trials of new treatment methods. The center belongs to several groups which conduct studies in conjunction with the National Cancer Institute.
Registration and Reception
Because the Gulden Center has its own reception and registration area, patient services are conveniently based in one location. The well-informed front desk staff has a variety of information at hand to help patients and their families during treatment.
Free parking is available in a special lot next to the Gulden Center. Radiation oncology patients will receive a special parking permit.
The radiation therapists arrange the treatment schedules and make every effort to accommodate patients' work and personal schedules. Nurses at the Center make appointments for tests when they are needed.
Billing and Insurance
The Gulden Center's patient coordinator gives patients information about costs and insurance coverage and answers any questions about them. The Center works with patients to determine the extent of coverage and maximize their benefits.
A clinical social worker is part of the Gulden Center health team. The social worker:
- leads orientation and support groups
- helps patients and their families make arrangements for services such as home care and transportation
- counsels patients and families coping with anxieties and other concerns. Nutrition
The hospital's dietitians consult with patients in radiation oncology when their help is needed.
Frank Gulden Radiation Oncology Center
301 E. Main Street
Bay Shore, New York 11706