Nov 15, 2020 Radiation Oncology: It Takes a Team

Patients in the RWJBarnabas Health System Have Access to the Most Advanced Treatments for Cancer

Radiation OncologyRadiation oncology, which uses precisely targeted doses of high-energy radiation to eliminate cancer cells, is an effective treatment for a wide range of cancers.

Within the field, though, are numerous treatment options, and that leads to crucial questions. Would a patient’s cancer respond best to external beam radiation therapy, in which high-energy rays are directed from the outside into a specific part of the body? Or internal radiation, which involves putting a source of radiation inside the patient’s body? And within those two categories, which specific treatment is most likely to be more effective for a particular patient?

Bruce Haffty, MD, FACR, FASTRO, FASCOCancer patients in New Jersey can be assured that they have the best minds in the field on their cases, thanks to the unique partnership between RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) and Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the state’s only National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“All of the radiation oncology doctors at the 11 hospitals in the RWJBarnabas Health system and Rutgers Cancer Institute consult with each other. We don’t hesitate to pick up the phone,” says Bruce Haffty, MD, FACR, FASTRO, FASCO, Chair of Radiation Oncology for Rutgers Cancer Institute and for Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School.

“Moreover, we all know what technologies are available throughout the system. So if a patient at one of our cancer centers needs a treatment that’s available at Rutgers Cancer Institute or any RWJBarnabas Health facility, we ensure that treatment can be offered based on the individual patient's needs. If a clinical trial at any of those places could benefit a patient, his or her oncologist will know about it and the patient will have access to it,” explains Dr. Haffty, who is also the Associate Vice Chancellor for Cancer Programs.

“In this way, we can provide a seamless continuity of advanced care that’s of great benefit to our patients,” he says.

Consistent Connection

Physicians at RWJBH and Rutgers Cancer Institute represent a vast array of cancer specialties. “A physician can call a specialist at another RWJBarnabas Health hospital to consult on any case,” Dr. Haffty says. “For example, I get calls all the time about cases in my specialties, breast cancers, and head and neck cancers. The same kind of discussions going on among experts in the gastrointestinal, brain, blood cancers—all kinds of subspecialties within radiation oncology.”

Such consultations aren’t left to chance. Cancer specialists at RWJBH and Rutgers Cancer Institute meet regularly to discuss their cases. “We’ve implemented peer-review planning sessions, where every new patient case at each facility is peer-reviewed by multiple physicians,” says Dr. Haffty. “Physicians share their ideas about what treatments might best benefit the patient—perhaps Gamma Knife, CyberKnife, proton therapy or other sophisticated radiation therapy techniques. Very few health systems have all of these options available.”

Physicians and patients also have the benefit of the most up-to-date national research and the latest clinical trials. As one of just 51 U.S. institutions designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, Rutgers Cancer Institute is a leader in conducting cancer research and translating scientific discoveries into novel treatments.

“The partnership between Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health is unique in that it offers the latest technology available in combination with all of our subspecialty expertise,” says Dr. Haffty, “and anybody who walks in the door anywhere in the system has the benefit of all of it.”

Advanced Treatments

Radiation oncologists at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and throughout the RWJBarnabas Health system are experts in the most advanced radiation treatments available, including but not limited to:


In this type of radiation therapy, the radioactive source is delivered through seeds, ribbons, catheters or wires placed within or just next to a tumor.


This robotic radiosurgery system is noninvasive and delivers intense, highly focused doses of radiation directed by a sophisticated computer guidance system.

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

This treatment uses multiple beams of radiation focused with extreme accuracy in the tumor or area to be treated. With Gamma Knife, no incision is required to treat tumors and other abnormalities of the brain.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT)

These therapies utilize advanced imaging and computerized radiation delivery techniques that provide high-resolution, three-dimensional imaging to pinpoint tumor sites while protecting healthy tissue.

Proton Beam Therapy

This type of therapy uses protons (subatomic particles with a positive electric charge) to precisely target locations within tumors while protecting surrounding tissues and organs.

Your cancer care is too important to wait. Our cancer centers and our hospitals have taken every precaution as we continue to provide the most advanced cancer care. To schedule an appointment with one of our cancer specialists, call844.CANCERNJ (844.226.2376) or visit or visit