Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center


By Sande Snead

Maintaining its leading edge in medicine, VCU Massey Cancer Center is the first in the Southeast to offer the latest radiation therapy technology for prostate cancer.

With the new Calypso® 4D Localization System, doctors can now accurately and continuously track a tumor’s exact location during radiation treatment. Monitoring a tumor in real time allows doctors to aggressively attack the tumor while avoiding healthy tissues and organs.

“The Calypso system functions much like GPS [global positioning system] in your car,” said Mitchell Anscher, M.D., chair of radiation oncology and a leading authority on prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the most frequently occurring cancer among men.

Like GPS for your body

Image-guided radiation therapy involves implanting very small Beacon® electromagnetic transponders, slightly larger than a grain of rice, in or near the target area.

During treatment, the transponders relay a constant signal, pinpointing the tumor’s exact location. A computer alerts technicians if and when the tumor or organ moves during treatment.

“Even movements of a few millimeters can mean the difference between attacking cancerous cells and damaging healthy tissue,” said Dr. Anscher. “By being able to track the tumor’s exact position while the radiation is being delivered, we can stop and make necessary adjustments if the tumor or organ moves too close to the edge of the radiation beam. This is an important new capability available locally only at Massey.”

More than a million Americans undergo radiation treatment for cancer each year, including many of the 218,000 men with prostate cancer. Early prostate cancer may not present any symptoms and can only be found with regular prostate examinations and screenings.

More information

Do you have a question about Massey’s Department of Radiation Oncology or the Calypso technology? Would you like to schedule an appointment? Simply call (804) 828-3403 or Ask Massey.