Providence offers breakthrough radiation technology to cancer patients

July 10, 2020 Providence Health Team


Providence Cancer Institute now offers cancer patients the most cutting-edge radiation technology in the world.

The ViewRay MRIdian uses MRI-guided radiation for pin-point accuracy to maximize tumor killing and minimize damage to normal tissue. Providence Portland Medical Center is the first facility in the Pacific Northwest, and the first community hospital in the nation, to offer this level of care to cancer patients.

“This technology allows us to track the movements and monitor changes in shape of the target and surrounding organs so that we can modify the radiation beams in real time,” said Steven Seung, M.D., PhD., Providence Radiation Oncology and Gamma Knife Center of Oregon medical director and The Oregon Clinic physician. “It permits stronger, shorter, more effective treatments to be delivered with potentially less complications.”

The MR Linac technology allows radiation oncologists to track and treat a patient’s tumor in real time – even as the tumor shifts as the patient’s internal organs move. This greatly reduces the amount of radiation to healthy tissue and organs. It also means the tumor can be targeted with a stronger dose of radiation, while decreasing negative side effects.

“The body is not static during radiation, the organs are constantly moving and shifting,” said Dr. Seung. “Imagine if you can see inside the body when you are treating and you can stop the beam if the tumor shifts slightly or something moves in front of the tumor. We can do that now with this technology.”

According to Dr. Seung, this is the biggest advancement in radiation oncology in 20 years. It is a game changer for patients.

A typical radiation treatment plan for a patient with prostate cancer spans seven to eight weeks. With the precision offered by this technology, the treatment can be as short as one week.

“When you think about it, the most precious commodity a cancer patient has is time,” said Dr. Seung. “If we can do our treatments more effectively and efficiently, we are giving our patients more of that precious commodity – time.”

Providence will initially treat tumors of the pelvis such as prostate and rectal cancer, adding abdominal and lung treatments in the coming months, and expanding to additional tumor types in the future.

The $8 million ViewRay MRIdian was made possible through a generous $4.5 million donation by Elsie Franz Finley. The Portland businesswoman and philanthropist gave more than $60 million to Providence over her lifetime, with much of it benefitting cancer research, technology and nursing education.

The technology is located in the Elsie Franz Finley Radiation Oncology Center at Providence Portland Medical Center. To learn more, visit


About the Author

The Providence Health Team brings together caregivers from diverse backgrounds to bring you clinically-sound, data-driven advice to help you live your happiest and healthiest selves.

More Content by Providence Health Team
Previous Article
Breakthrough radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer
Breakthrough radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer

Providence Cancer Institute is the first facility in the Pacific Northwest, and the first community medical...

Next Article
Don't delay life-saving cancer screenings
Don't delay life-saving cancer screenings

Routine cancer screenings can detect cancer in its early stages – before you begin to develop symptoms. Rea...