Four Radiation Oncologists Named in List of "Bay Area's Top Doctors of 2019"

Congratulations to Beth Beadle, MD, Mark Buyyounouski, MD, Maximillian Diehn, MD, and Quynh-Thu Le, MD, who were all named in San Francisco Magazine's 2019 list of the Top Doctors of the Bay Area.

Faced with the tough decision of figuring out which doctors people should trust with their time and their health, San Francisco Magazine decided to turn to a health care research company, Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. In turn, that company asked various doctors and medical groups to nominate their picks for best doctors in the area, themselves excluded. After the company looks through each nominee’s experience, affiliations, board certification, and possible malpractice suits, they narrowed the list of nominees down to 616 doctors. Stanford Department of Radiation Oncology is pleased to have four of our own on the list.


Dr. Bill Loo Featured on Podcast

One of our doctors, Dr. Bill Loo, was recently featured on the podcast "The Future of Everything with Russ Altman."

Dr. Loo discussed how new PHASER accelerator technology will be able to shrink cancer tumors in under a second--helping to reduce any harmful radiation therapy side effects. Watch his podcast here: https://tinyurl.com/FacebookBillLoo

Special Superhero and Cartoon Masks Bring Joy to Pediatric Patients

Below: Pediatric radiation therapy masks created by our Radiation Therapists.

When you think of Batman, Spiderman and Minnie Mouse, you probably think of superheroes, cartoons, movies and Disneyland. But a group of radiation therapy technologists are using these characters to help their tiniest cancer patients feel less anxious during treatment.

For about five years now, a team of radiation therapy technologists (RTT's) have been decorating masks that patients are required to wear during treatment. The masks are made to resemble some of their favorite superhero and cartoon characters.

“While the idea of treatment can be scary, especially for young kids, the masks at least for a moment help distract and comfort patients during the process," said radiation therapist Seth Morgan.

The idea came to the group of RTT's one day when they realized that there had to be a way to make pediatric patients feel more comfortable during the daunting treatment process. During treatment, the mask allows the patient's body to be kept still in the same position immobilized while the machine rotates around them.

The RTT's started out by decorating a mask to resemble Batman. As time went on, they began receiving requests from patients including Elsa from Frozen and Mickey Mouse.  It's a program that the RTT's hope to continue for years to come.

“We love doing things like this for our pediatric patients, even if it means working after hours on a mask," said Morgan.  

Stanford Emanuel Radiation Oncology Center Adds Second Linear Accelerator

Below: Drs. Quoc Luu and Sandra Zaky pose with Emanuel Medical Center's new linear accelerator

New machine doubles treatment capacity

A treatment center at Turlock's Emanuel Medical Center now has double the capacity for treating patients with cancer. The Stanford-Emanuel Radiation Oncology Center has added a second linear accelerator for delivering doses of radiation to treat malignant tumors.

The center on East Tuolomne Road is a joint venture of Emanuel and Stanford Helath Care and began treating cancer patients from the Central Valley in 2007. The recent expansion just happened to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of the partnership.

Alisa Ward, the center's manager, said the facility has been treating up to 45 patients a day, more than twice the normal patient load, so the decision was made to install a second linear accelerator. The second machine is a multi-million dollar investment.

"Our reputation has grown over the years," said Ward, explaining the growing number of patients. "The patients come from all over the Central Valley, but mostly from Stanislaus and Merced counties." Because of the influx of patients, some people could not be scheduled for treatment during normal business hours. Some appointments were as early as 6 a.m., or as late as 9 p.m.

The new machine was installed and tested over the summer and was put into use in late October.

Lung Cancer Recurrence, Predictable at Last?

Max Diehn, MD, PhD and Aadel Chaudhuri, MD, PhD interviewed by Inside Science

When lung cancer is caught in its earliest stages, before the tumors have spread to other organs, people face the prospect of radiation, chemo, surgery or some combination of the three, and for many, outcomes are good. Through treatment, lung cancer can be cured.

But for far too many others, treatment fails. Sick cells socked away in the bulbous pockets of the lungs survive, and tumors later recur -- one of the reasons why lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer in the United States and around the world.

Now, a new blood test may be able to tell doctors which patients still harbor cancer cells in their bodies after initial treatment, which could help address one of the problems with managing early-stage lung cancer: the inability to tell when someone is actually cured.