Dr. Kubicek specializes in cancers treated with radiation therapy with an emphasis on maintaining a good quality of life for her patients. A Massachusetts native, Dr. Kubicek volunteered at Angell in 2002 as a way to help her decide between veterinary school and medical school. We caught up with her to talk about proactive pain control, technology and her own furry family at home.
What would you most like your clients to know?
“Radiation isn’t scary anymore. The side effects are now self-limiting, meaning they will go away on their own. We want your pets to be as pain-free as possible.”
What is a Radiation Oncologist? What does a Radiation Oncologist do?
“A Radiation Oncologist is different from a Medical Oncologist – it means that I am board certified in Radiation Oncology. It’s a relatively small field – there are fewer than 100 boarded Radiation Oncologists in the nation. I use radiation therapy to treat cancer in patients. The technology we use has come so far – we use the same technology here [at Angell] as the [human medicine] medical schools use down the street. I’m big into proactive pain control – we want to prevent pain before it starts. It’s important that the pet is comfortable throughout the therapy. That’s why we are always updating our technological approaches – to improve the quality of life.”
Tell us about some of these new technologies and devices.
“Well, there’s IMRT, or Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, which is now available at Angell. IMRT minimizes side effects by sculpting the radiation treatment beam to the exact size and dimensions of the tumor. We introduced Stereotactic therapy, or Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS), to Angell in June 2017 with the upgrade of our linear accelerator. SRS enables very high doses of radiation to be delivered using a precise beam to the site of the tumor. The high dosage allows for fewer treatment sessions (3 or 4 instead of 18-20), making the treatment less risky.
In 2019 we introduced Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT), an innovative form of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) that delivers precise continuous radiation to the entire tumor in a 360-degree rotation, typically under two minutes.
In addition to preventing permanent late term side effects, VMAT has the added benefit of faster treatment times, and short anesthesia times are always advantageous in patients receiving multiple treatments. VMAT is predominantly useful for delivering radiation therapy to tumors adjacent to sensitive body organs.
Finally, there’s the Vascular Access Port which currently can be used to administer anesthesia [for radiation therapy, when the pet needs to remain still] or chemotherapy drugs. Using these ports allow for shorter treatment sessions – and less frequent poking of the pet with needles!”
Where did you grow up? Did you always want to be a Radiation Oncologist?
“I grew up in Taunton, MA. I completed my undergraduate degree in Medical Laboratory Science at Northeastern University, but was undecided whether to continue on to medical school or veterinary school. My advisor suggested that I volunteer with animals to see if that was the right choice for me. It was! I ended up volunteering at Angell in 2002 and from that experience I knew that veterinary school was the right choice. Later, when I had to decide between a clinical path and oncology, I came back to Angell for rotations.”
What do you like about what you do?
“I love working in oncology because of the relationships I build with clients and patients. I also enjoy working with other departments – cardiology, internal medicine, neurology, dermatology and surgery, to name a few – to help provide the best care for the patient. You can’t treat cancer with just one therapy and be successful. The interdisciplinary approach helps provide the best service possible. It makes Angell stand out.”
Do you have any pets?
“Yes! I have four cats – Mia, Indiana Jones, Kakaui and Gila. I call them the ‘Cat Brady Bunch’ because one of them was my fiancé’s. I also have a dog, Bosco, who I adopted from the MSPCA 10 years ago!”
Dr. Lyndsay Kubicek completed a residency in radiation oncology at the University of Wisconsin in 2012, and joined Angell in May 2014. Prior to her start at Angell, Dr. Kubicek was a clinical assistant professor at the University of Florida where she was their first radiation oncologist and developed their radiation program. She specializes in cancers treated with radiation therapy with an emphasis on maintaining a good quality of life. Dr. Kubicek has extensive training in intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) therapy.
Radiation therapy options offered at Angell Animal Medical center include palliative and definitive therapies using photon and electron beams. We are proud to announce we now offer modulated radiation therapy and will be soon offering intensity stereotactic therapy for select tumors.
Dr. Kubicek is available to referring veterinarians for phone or email consultations. To contact the Oncology service directly for an appointments, please call 617-541-5136 or email firstname.lastname@example.org