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Virginia Commonwealth University Health System

Our Facility:

VCU health is a large academic hospital (820 bed) in Richmond, Virginia with over 700 residents and fellows as well as a large medical school.  As a safety net hospital, VCU serves patients in central and eastern Virginia.

The Massey Cancer Center is located within the Adult Outpatient Pavilion (AOP) at VCU and includes all the oncologic specialties needed for comprehensive care. 

The AOP was opened in December 2021 and houses the radiation oncology department spanning two floors.  The clinical spaces on the second floor has 2 True Beams, an MR Linac, MR and PET/CT simulators and 2 large brachytherapy suites.  Administrative spaces are on the third floor.  Our medium-sized faculty is spread across several centers and train 7 residents over the 4-year program.  Resident primary training is at the AOP and the VA Medical Center.

Brachytherapy has an almost four decades long history at VCU, spanning from the era of Cs-137 gyn and Ir-192 LDR seeds for interstitial breast implants to the Bravos HDR remote afterloader, the most advanced HDR treatment to date. VCU has always been at the forefront of developing new, more efficient treatment techniques and has a long tradition of collaboration with industry (e.g. Varian, SenoRx, Bard, CivaTech).

In AOP, brachytherapy has a large footprint: four recovery rooms, two spacious procedure rooms, one adjacent to the MRI simulation suite, both in close proximity of CT simulation. Each of the procedure rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art anesthesia capabilities, ultrasound, and fluoroscopy units (in room CT pending) and can function in parallel.  We treat a large volume of gynecologic cancers, prostate and breast cancers, as well as some other rarer indications (anorectal, esophageal, sarcoma, etc.)

A standard week includes 8-10 anesthesia cases (tandem-based and interstitial needle cases for gyn, multi-catheter implants for breasts, and perineal implants for prostates) as well as vaginal cylinder and fractionated breast treatments.

Focusing on resident education we provide regular brachytherapy simulation workshops.

 

Fellowship Description:

The 2-month fellowship can be tailored to site-specific brachytherapy (gyn, breast, or prostate) or be a more immersive experience with a mix of all cases.

The fellow will work closely with the faculty and staff in the brachytherapy division to care for the patients from consultation through the procedure and follow up. Understanding the principles and practicing creating treatment plans using modern methods (e.g. inverse planning) is a unique opportunity in our group, as well as working on clinical and technique development projects.

The experience will be hands-on with incremental levels of independence based on experience and skill.

 

Case volume:

A standard week includes 4-5 gyn procedures (tandem and ovoids plus freehand needles, interstitial needle templates) plus cylinders, 2 multi-catheter breast placements with subsequent treatments, and 2-3 prostate implants.

Depending on the resident’s focus, there will be time for consultations, treatment planning and even research, as it is of interest.

 

Resident Expectations and Learning Objectives:

By the completion of the 2-month fellowship, the resident will be expected to:

  1. Identify patients who will benefit from brachytherapy
  2. Understand the logistics, risks and benefits of each procedure
  3. Demonstrate proficiency with applicator placement, treatment planning, plan evaluation and delivery
  4. Describe and manage potential side effects from treatment
  5. Develop a competence and confidence to practice brachytherapy upon graduation
  6. Generate mentee/mentor relationships that translate into longer term partnerships

ABS Fellowship Application: VCU Health System, HDR GYN, Breast and HDR/LDR Prostate

Accepting Applications