UCLA Health radiation oncology care available in downtown L.A.

Vital Signs Spring 2023 - Radiation Oncology
Cancer Care UCLA Health
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UCLA Health has radiation oncology services in downtown Los Angeles available to patients with cancer.

The downtown radiation oncology clinic provides patients who work or live in the area greater proximity and convenience, with the same high caliber of care provided in Westwood. Bernard S. Lewinsky, MD, a UCLA Health radiation oncologist in downtown Los Angeles, discusses the center’s capabilities and benefits for patients.

What therapies does the downtown radiation oncology clinic offer?

“We treat all types of solid tumors for patients ages 18 and older,” Dr. Lewinsky says. “We use external beam radiation therapy, which precisely delivers radiation to the tumor while sparing and protecting the normal tissues surrounding it.” Dr. Lewinsky notes the clinic provides several types of external-beam radiation therapy. 3D conformal radiation therapy delivers radiation beams from many directions using images from CT, MRI and PET to confine the beams to the shape of the tumor. Similarly, intensity-modulated mediation therapy (IMRT) uses radiation beams from several directions where individual beams can deliver higher doses to certain parts of the tumor. Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), a type of IMRT, uses imaging while the radiation is being administered to ensure precise delivery. “The ability of this technology to protect normal tissues has greatly improved over the years, resulting in diminished side effects,” Dr. Lewinsky says. He notes the clinic offers additional methods for delivering radiation. Brachytherapy, or implanted radiation, involves placing radioactive material into or near tumors to deliver specific doses to specific areas. Ingestion or injection can deliver liquid radioactive materials in high doses to internal organs.

How are local radiation oncology services integrated into the greater UCLA Health system?

“We work with medical oncologists in our downtown location to coordinate and combine treatments,” Dr. Lewinsky says. He adds that he and his colleague at the downtown radiation oncology clinic have access to the full range of UCLA Health resources. They can consult with specialists at the main campus, refer patients for additional specialty services and present their patients to UCLA Tumor Boards. These multidisciplinary groups may include surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and a genetic counselor, who review patient cases and form personalized, evidence-based treatment plans. The UCLA Health electronic medical record enables physicians to easily share information and communicate with other physicians.

What other cancer services are located downtown?

UCLA Health downtown cancer care services also include medical oncology and hematology. Medical oncologists treat solid cancers in adults using chemotherapy, hormonal, biological and targeted therapies. Hematologists treat both benign and malignant blood diseases, including lymphoma and leukemia. This office also has access to a social worker from the Simms/ Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology who provides psychological and integrative health services. In addition to cancer care, UCLA’s downtown offices feature primary and specialty care services, which include cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, sleep medicine and sports medicine.