At MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, radiation therapists are part of the Radiation Oncology Care Team and play an important role in patient care before and during treatment.
Radiation therapists act as a resource for patients to learn about radiation treatment, and in turn, communicate patients' needs and concerns to the treatment team. Under the direction of radiation oncologists, they operate machines which deliver radiation therapy. These machines direct high-energy x-rays at specific cancer cells in a patient's body, shrinking or removing them.
Before the treatment procedures begin, radiation therapists educate patients about the treatment process and determine how a patient will be positioned during treatment sessions based on the treatment plan and on a patient's comfort and physical condition. Most importantly, radiation therapists are focused on patient safety and are responsible for making sure safety procedures are followed, radiation dosage is correct, and equipment is in proper working order before delivering treatment. Radiation therapists sometimes simulate a treatment to determine if it is appropriate for a specific case or if an alternative method should be pursued. They also monitor the patient to check for unusual reactions to the treatment and keep detailed records of treatment.