Radiation Oncology: What we offer at Allina Health Cancer Institute

April 07, 2023

Allina Health offers specialized cancer care in the Allina Health Cancer Institute (AHCI), which has nine locations throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. As part of our cancer care, our highly trained radiation oncologists offer the latest advances in radiation therapy for people with all types of cancer, even the most complex cases.

Within AHCI are two comprehensive radiation oncology centers, one at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and the other at United Hospital in St. Paul. Patients receiving care at our radiation oncology centers have easy access for all their visits, with their entire cancer care team under one roof.

AHCI: What we offer for radiation oncology

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Our experienced team of radiation therapy experts treats people of all ages, with all cancer diagnoses in any disease site. We have particular expertise in providing emergency on-call care and treating high-acuity patients with complex comorbidities. We serve as a regional referral center, treating patients transferred from other hospitals for a higher level of care.

Highlights of our radiation oncology program include:

Highly trained radiation oncologists for specialty care

Our radiation therapy program is home to a dedicated team of highly skilled doctors in every specialty of radiation oncology. The core team includes radiation oncologists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists and oncology-certified nurses — all with many years of advanced training and experience.

Patients receive care from providers with extensive experience in their specific cancer type. Our highly advanced treatments offer hope to patients who were previously told they had no further treatment options.

Radiation therapy within a comprehensive, integrated cancer program

The radiation oncology team is closely connected with surgical and medical oncology at both our Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. Integrating our team facilitates discussion of patient cases across specialties, providing our patients with multidisciplinary, consensus care. Our oncologists also meet in numerous tumor boards every week to collaboratively review patient cases to determine the best care approach.

Supportive services, such as integrative medicine, palliative care, nutrition and social work, are located in the same center. The tighter integration allows for a seamless experience for our patients, with all their care and services under one roof.

Latest technology in radiation therapy

Both of our radiation oncology centers feature new, state-of-the-art equipment, and both centers have been remodeled within the past few years. We have complete equipment redundancy between the two sites, so patients can receive care at either center if a machine is down.

In addition to general radiation treatment, some of our more advanced, specialized radiation therapy modalities include:

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), both linear accelerator (LINAC)-based and CyberKnife, to treat brain tumors
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for a wide range of cancers
  • Radiation therapy for prostate tumors, in collaboration with urology, incorporating SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel to minimize radiation to the rectum
  • High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy for gynecologic and certain pediatric cancers
  • Radiopharmaceutical drugs, which deliver radiation therapy to specific molecular targets on cancer cells
  • Intravascular brachytherapy for atherosclerotic disease
  • GammaTile, which is intraoperative radiotherapy for brain tumors

National recognition for exceptional patient care

Our radiation oncology centers have earned accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (ACS CoC). We are working toward accreditation through the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO): Accreditation Program for Excellence® (APEx). These recognitions demonstrate our commitment to safe, high-quality patient care, with the systems, personnel, policies and procedures needed to meet these national standards. 

A dedicated team focused on the patient experience

We are proud to have earned excellent National Research Corporation (NRC) scores and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) in patient satisfaction. We believe patients have several reasons to be happy with their radiation treatment at AHCI, and they include our:

  • Nurse navigator program: AHCI’s nurse navigators schedule tests and other visits for patients all in the same day so patients don’t have to make multiple trips. They also facilitate communication not only between patients and their doctors, but also among the various doctors on a patient’s care team.
  • Accessible, convenient in-person and virtual visits: Patients find their care at our radiation oncology centers to be very accessible, with easy parking that’s close to their doctors’ offices. We also offer virtual visits for some follow-up and other types of appointments, such as skin checks.
  • Wide variety of support services: AHCI offers specialized services for cancer patients, including social work, cancer rehabilitation and integrative oncology, such as acupuncture, meditation and healing touch. Our cancer support services demonstrate our commitment to whole-person care: body, mind and spirit.

Collaborative cancer care for your patients

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When you refer your patients to AHCI for radiation therapy, you can expect a collaborative approach. Our oncologists communicate with referring providers via electronic medical record (EMR), patient notes, phone calls and other methods. We keep you up-to-date on your patient’s status throughout their cancer treatment. We work closely with you to manage non-cancer-related issues that can arise during radiation therapy.

If your patient needs care from another subspecialty, we coordinate with the appropriate department. Teams that we frequently work with include cardiology, dermatology, interventional radiology, otolaryngology, pulmonary rehab and wound care.

We offer pediatric radiation therapy at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, in collaboration with Children’s Minnesota Hospital. Our team has particular skills, training and experience caring for children who need anesthesia daily for treatment.

Partner with Allina Health Cancer Institute: how to refer your patients

We welcome referrals from health care providers across the Twin Cities, western Wisconsin and beyond. Here’s how you can refer a patient to AHCI for cancer care:

Providers within Allina Health can place a consult order within Epic.

Providers from outside Allina Health can refer patients by calling our nearest cancer center: