Radiation Therapy

The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute’s vast experience and innovative spirit, coupled with the latest technology, help ensure that radiation treatment is as effective as possible in eliminating your cancer.

Many patients are prescribed radiation as part of their cancer treatment. Radiation oncologists work closely with your medical oncologists, cancer surgeons and other members of your team to develop a highly personalized plan.

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Call 855.255.6181 or request a callback for support, advice, or a second opinion.

Meet Our Team

What is Radiation Oncology?

Radiation oncology precisely targets regulated doses of high-energy photons at the area of the body containing the cancer. The deposited energy kills cancer cells by damaging genetic material. Normal cells generally repair injury from radiation, but cancer cells cannot.

The goal of radiation therapy is often to cure the cancer, but it can also be used to:

  • Eliminate tumors before they spread to other parts of the body
  • Kill cancer cells that might be left after surgery or chemotherapy to reduce the risk the cancer returns
  • Shrink the tumor before surgery
  • Reduce symptoms caused by growing tumors, to help improve your quality of life

How Radiation Oncology Works

Our experts are experienced with the latest techniques that ensure you receive the maximum benefit from radiation therapy while avoiding damage it can cause.

These techniques include:

  • Three-dimensional Conformal Therapy: A specialized scanner called a CT simulator creates detailed images of the anatomy. The experts use these images to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that delivers highly focused streams of radiation to tumors while sparing nearby healthy tissue.
  • Image-guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT): A versatile technique commonly used for many external beam techniques. It allows “dynamic targeting,” by accurately positioning the radiation beam using X-ray or CT scan imaging of the target area on a daily basis just prior to treatment to assure accurate positioning of the high dose area.
  • Deep Inspiration Breath Hold: This technique helps the accurate delivery of radiation therapy to left-sided breast cancer and limits radiation exposure to heart and lung tissue. You’re asked to hold your breath during the seconds-long radiation treatment while you’re monitored closely to assure accuracy.
  • Hypofractionated Radiation: A shortened version of external radiation in select tumor sites. This can help with patient access and convenience. Since larger daily doses are utilized, Hypofractionated Radiation has equal effectiveness to longer courses of radiation, and in select circumstances has improved outcomes.
  • Palliative Radiation Therapy: Shrinks tumors, improves symptoms and quality of life for patients with more advanced cancer.

Types of Radiation Treatment

Hartford HealthCare offers an array of radiation oncology treatments at Cancer Institute locations across the state.

These options include:

  • External Beam Radiation Therapy: Your highly experienced treatment team uses a complex machine (linear accelerator) to direct radiation beams through the skin at the cancer site. Simulation (mapping and planning) comes first, positioning you properly each day through fabrications of a body mold and placement of body tattoos or marks. A CT scan helps identify the target and avoid noncancerous structures so the radiation oncologist, working with the medical physicist and dosimetrist (who handles dosage), can maximize the dose to the target and minimize the dose to normal tissues. These treatments, used against many types of cancers, are generally given daily for up to 10 weeks.
  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS): This specialized technique allows your radiation oncologist to use focused beams of radiation to destroy certain types of tumors with higher doses than typically given with daily radiation treatments. The beam’s precision may also allow the specialist to spare more healthy tissue nearby. This technique is particularly useful in treating select patients with primary and metastatic brain tumors. It is delivered with high daily doses over one to five treatments.
  • High-dose Rate Brachytherapy: Used for gynecologic, breast, prostate, lung, esophageal and head and neck cancers and sarcoma. This approach uses a catheter to place the radioactive source where the tumor is located, such as the cervix. It’s usually given in multiple doses and might require a surgical procedure.
  • Low-dose Rate Brachytherapy Implants: Dozens of tiny seeds containing radioactive material are surgically implanted. They emit radiation at low doses for several weeks or months. This can be used for prostate cancer, head and neck cancer and soft-tissue sarcoma.
  • Radiopharmaceuticals: Radioactive material taken orally or intravenously travels in your blood to target cancerous tissues throughout the body. For example, radium-223 targets cancer cells in bone and is particularly helpful for patients with prostate cancer that has spread to the bone.
  • Radioimmunotherapy: This oral delivery of radiotherapy helps select patients with lymphoma. The monoclonal antibody locks onto a specific area of a cancer cell’s surface and the radiation molecule delivers a high dose of radiation to the targeted cells.
  • Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT): This new treatment merges a receptor target specifically for cancer cells with a radionuclide molecule. The first of its kind approved in the United States is Lutathera, a targeted therapy for progressive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine cancers (carcinoid tumors). Very few sites in the country administer this therapy. Cancer Institute physicians were pioneers in New England in setting up a comprehensive program.
  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT): A specialized technique of treating focal small sites (including lung, liver, spine, prostate, bone and other selected sites) in the body with ablative doses of radiation given in 1-5 treatments. This technique involves highly accurate body positioning using customized molds, CT and MRI imaging to establish target and avoidance structures and highly precise treatment delivery.

Radiation Oncology Team

Our radiation oncology experts become part of your cancer care team, working with your oncologist and you on a treatment plan based on your specific needs.

In radiation oncology, our multidisciplinary team works to ensure your safety and comfort throughout treatment.

You’ll encounter such team members as:

  • Radiation Oncologists: Physicians who are experts in treating cancer using radiation. They work with the radiation oncology team on optimal dosing and delivering radiation treatments. Radiation oncologists oversee your radiation therapy treatments and monitor your progress, adjusting treatments as necessary for the best outcomes with minimal side effects.
  • Radiation Therapists: Technologists who work under the supervision of the radiation oncologist to precisely administer radiation treatment.
  • Radiation Oncology Nurses: Work with the team to care for you before, during and after treatment. They assess how you’re doing throughout treatment and can help you cope with any side effects.
  • Medical Physicists: Work with the radiation oncologist to plan and deliver your treatment. They ensure complex treatments are tailored to each patient. They also test equipment regularly to make sure it works properly.
  • Dosimetrists: Carefully calculate the dose of radiation, working with the radiation oncologist and medical physicist to ensure the tumor is given the prescribed amount.

They collaborate closely with other members, including:


Meet our Radiation Oncologists:

Name Specialties Location
Bertsch, Helaine Fannie, MD Bertsch, Helaine Fannie, MD 860.972.2803
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Hartford
Blakaj, Adriana, MD, PhD Blakaj, Adriana, MD, PhD 860.972.2803
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Hartford
Boyd, Timothy Stephen, MD Boyd, Timothy Stephen, MD 860.972.2803
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Hartford
Chaudhary, Ahmed Aziz, MD Chaudhary, Ahmed Aziz, MD 860.545.2803
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Norwich
Fang, Deborah Xiangdong, MD Fang, Deborah Xiangdong, MD 475.210.5085
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Bridgeport
Khan, Anwar Mangey, MD Khan, Anwar Mangey, MD 860.224.5011
  • Radiation Oncology
  • New Britain
Kuczmarska-Haas, Aleksandra, MD 860.892.2777
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Norwich
Mani, Sheida K., MD Mani, Sheida K., MD 860.827.4161
  • Radiation Oncology
  • New Britain
Whalen, Elizabeth Ann, MD Whalen, Elizabeth Ann, MD 860.489.6718
  • Radiation Oncology
  • Diagnostic Radiology
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  • Torrington

Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute