Radiotherapy - Innovative Treatment Modules

The Department of Radiation Oncology at Erasmus MC operates 12 linear accelerators and 2 Cyberknife Robotic Radiosurgery Units. Our radiation and medical oncologists have the expertise and experience on the latest radiotherapy techniques and alternative treatment options for a wide variety of lesions. Information on our more innovative radiotherapy techniques and their application can on this webpage.

Brachytherapy: Internal Radiotherapy

Brachytherapy refers to the insertion of a small radioactive source close to tumors, so that very localized radiation is applied without needing to send radioactive beams through multiple layers of the body’s tissues. It may be the treatment modality of preference for delicate areas, for example in cervical cancer and lip cancer. A high dose of radiation is applied to the cancer site and the surrounding tissue is spared.

Brachytherapy can also be applied in combination with external radiotherapy, such as High Dose Rate brachytherapy (HDR). HDR is a short and fast internal radiation treatment modality with a high dose of radiation.

Brachytherapy and HDR can be used for internal radiation therapy of:

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Vaginal and vulvular cancers
  • Breast cancer

Hyperthermia: Heat Treatment

Hyperthermia or heat treatment is a local therapy which raises the temperature of the tumor and surrounding tissue to 40 – 43 °C . Research has shown that specific tumors respond well to raised temperatures. This treatment is always combined with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.

We have developed a hyperthermia collar which has produced promising results in patients with recurrent tumors of Head & Neck.

We offer four main types of treatment methods:

  • Hyperthermia (with an MRI)
  • Deep hyperthermia
  • Superficial hyperthermia (4 to 5 cm under the skin)
  • Hyperthermia collars for the head and neck areas

Stereotactic Radiotherapy

Stereotactic radiotherapy has a very high degree of precision, so that tumors in vital tissues can be treated with high doses of radiation, without damage to the surrounding tissue. Examples of applications of stereotactic radiotherapy include tumors close to the optical nerves or brain stem.

A single dose of stereotactic radiotherapy is called stereotactic radiosurgery, because the effects are similar to surgical treatment.

If stereotactic radiotherapy is needed, patients can be treated with the Cyberknife.


The Cyberknife is a robotized radiation device, in which the radiation beam can be maneuvered into many more positions than with conventional equipment. The Cyberknife uses a pencil beam, a very thin beam of radiation. Another special characteristic of this appliance is that it can move with the patient’s breathing pattern, so that tumors which change position during breathing can still be treated with utmost precision. All of these special attributes contribute to the delivery of the highest possible dose to the tumor with the least damage to surrounding tissues.

The Cyberknife can be used for:

  • Lung tumors
  • Prostate tumors
  • Head and neck tumors
  • Liver tumors
  • Spinal tumors
  • Pelvic tumors
  • Re-irradiation

Single Vocal Cord Therapy

We are the only center offering “single vocal cord radiotherapy” in case of cancer of the vocal cord. The none-affected vocal cords are spared from damage with this treatment modality. 

Proton Therapy

Proton therapy is an efficacious way to apply a high dose of radiation to small areas, with limited collateral damage to neighbouring tissues. This treatment modality allows for very high doses of precise radiation. This type of therapy is particularly useful for stubborn tumors which are insensitive to the conventional dose. We are proud to be able to offer patients from all over the world access to this new cancer treatment option starting from spring 2019.

The Holland Proton Therapy Centre (HollandPTC)is a partnership with the Leiden University Medical Centre and the Technical University of Delft. For more information, please visit their webpage at HollandPTC.

Affiliated Departments and Expertise Centers

  • Internal and surgical oncology
  • Brain Tumor Centre
  • Head and Neck Centre
  • Skull Base Centre
  • Academic Breast Cancer Centre

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