McLeod Radiation Oncology – Ensuring Quality and Safety in Patient-Centered Care



through Tobin Hyman, MS, DABR

For 57 years, McLeod Regional Medical Center has provided radiation therapy services to cancer patients in the region. Building on McLeod’s 115 years of caring for patients and families, the McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research has continued to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the broader community. Cancer.

Since opening its dedicated cancer center in 2013, McLeod has invested more than $ 14 million in three Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator technology to deliver radiation to our cancer patients while minimizing tissue and tissue damage. healthy bones such as the spinal cord or lungs. . These accelerators also allow us to perform stereotaxic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotaxic body radiation therapy (SBRT) – two advanced forms of treatment that deliver targeted radiation with less than a millimeter accuracy in a reduced number of treatments giving patients more convenience and a better quality of life.

Stereotactic radiosurgery, a non-surgical radiation therapy, treats cancerous tumors of the brain and spine. Radiation is focused on the disease area to completely cover it in the dose needed to overwhelm a cancer cell’s full ability to defend itself. This non-invasive and painless treatment uses a set of multiple beams that intersect at a single point on the tumor. The beams remain focused on the area as the linear accelerator rotates around the patient’s head. When performing SRS to the brain, the team ensures extreme precision and accuracy with the TrueBeam STx linear accelerator. This linear accelerator features stereoscopic X-rays and frameless technology, which means the McLeod team provides highly accurate single fraction treatment without the conventional invasive frame applied to the patient’s head.

Equipped with advanced imaging capabilities such as cone beam computed tomography, these linear accelerators also allow the team to verify the location of the tumor or make adjustments during treatment. This dramatically decreases treatment time, which increases patient comfort without compromising the quality of treatment delivered.

The benefits of SRS and SBRT for patients include the ability to receive treatment near their home. Understanding that a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event for all of our patients, McLeod’s decision to invest in technology to accurately plan and deliver this type of cancer treatment means patients don’t have to. to leave their homes to receive the highest level of care. . Some of these patients are also living with advanced disease. At this point in their cancer journey, patients often want to take certain steps. They want to spend quality time with their family and friends. We make this possible by offering these cutting edge cancer treatment options.

With a reduced number of treatments, SRS and SBRT also benefit patients by saving them time. For example, compared to conventional whole brain radiation therapy which involves smaller daily doses of radiation in 10 treatments, SRS delivers five to ten times the daily dose of radiation in one to five treatments. Increasing the dose improves the effectiveness of this form of treatment and side effects are significantly less when treating smaller volumes. Additionally, in the treatment of lung cancer, SBRT can be performed in just three to five sessions, as opposed to four to eight weeks of conventional radiation therapy.

Members of the radiation oncology team emphasize the pursuit of quality. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has defined quality as “doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, for the right person – and having the best possible results” (AHRQ 2001). The process of preparing a patient for radiation therapy is complex, involving many different practitioners (physician, medical physicists, simulation therapists, dosimetrists, nurses) before reaching the accelerator or other treatment machine for delivery of the drug. daily treatment by radiotherapists. Accordingly, it is imperative that operating procedures are standardized and, if possible, error-proof as much as possible to maintain the overall quality of treatment. This is where accreditation comes in.

The McLeod Regional Medical Center Radiation Oncology Department is unique in that it is the only accredited Radiation Oncology Department within 60 miles of Florence. The department is accredited by the American College of Radiology – Radiation Oncology Practice Accreditation (ACR-ROPA and is currently continuing its fourth three-year accreditation cycle. Of the 2,300 radiation oncology facilities in the United States, only 776 are accredited by ACR-ROPA Our department is one of 33.7% of establishments to choose accreditation through the ACR-ROPA program, and one of around 50% of centers to voluntarily submit to accreditation of any kind.In addition, the department has also achieved international recognition as a Novalis Certified Center for Radiosurgery McLeod is one of 11 centers in the United States to receive this honor, and one of 50 worldwide.

We believe we have a great responsibility to patients and their families to engage our staff and equipment in a 360 degree review of our radiation oncology program. In today’s healthcare environment, specialized treatment techniques such as SRS and SBRT must be subject to a comprehensive external review at regular intervals to ensure that the safest possible care is provided when treating cancer patients. Our commitment to quality is a daily reminder of how far we have come as an organization in our efforts to provide patient-centered cancer care.

Tobin Hyman, MS, DABR, is a Certified Medical Physicist who returned to the Radiation Oncology Department in 2007 to serve as the Chief Medical Physicist for the McLeod Regional Medical Center. Hailing from Pamplico, SC, Hyman considers it an honor to take care of the people of this region. He is also an Inspector for the American College of Radiology – Radiation Oncology Practice Accreditation (ROPA) Practice Accreditation Program, is a member of the ROPA Committee and is active in the development of radiation oncology products / technologies. . He is also currently a member of the North Carolina Medical Accelerator Task Force.

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