PAMF has a long-standing tradition of providing quality radiation therapy. The Palo Alto Medical Clinic first offered radiation treatment in 1950 and later became one of the first facilities in the United States to introduce megavoltage radiation therapy in a setting outside the hospital.
The 1970s saw construction of a sophisticated center capable of treating 60 to 70 patients a day. This reflected the department's commitment to technological advancement, as well as an increasing number of referred patients. First-generation medical linear accelerators were installed in the late 1980s. The Etta Kilbane Hyperthermia Suite became operational in 1992; since that time, approximately 950 hyperthermia treatments have been given.
In December 1999, the department moved to PAMF's new campus at 795 El Camino Real in Palo Alto. With the new facility, the Radiation Oncology team acquired two state-of-the-art Varian 23EX Linear Accelerators, used to provide cutting-edge three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy(3DCRT). A new simulator and sophisticated treatment planning software were also installed. In 2001, the department became the first outpatient facility in the Bay Area to offer an extension of 3DCRT called intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
In January 2008, PAMF became the first health-care organization in the world with a new high-definition multileaf collimator (HD 120 MLC), part of our Novalis Tx® radiosurgery system from Varian Medical Systems and BrainLab. This technology allows doctors to treat brain tumors and cancer in all parts of the body with unsurpassed accuracy – all with fewer side effects, greater patient comfort and improved outcomes.
PAMF's Radiation Oncology Department has developed into one of the most advanced in the country. The department now sees approximately 500 to 600 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year.
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