Radiation Safety Program at Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists
At Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists, one of the leading cancer centers in Arizona, much of the radiation is performed using X-ray or radioactive materials. To maintain a safe environment, minimize risks, and protect the health and safety of employees, patients, visitors, and the surrounding community, a radiation safety program is required. Under US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses and Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists' policies, the radiation safety program administers a comprehensive radiation safety program covering our three clinical facilitates in and around the Phoenix area. The radiation safety program provides for the effective supervision, control, and monitoring of all radioactive materials and X-ray radiation at Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists. This includes activities such as personnel monitoring, laboratory inspections, waste management, consultation, environmental monitoring, and training. As a result of this comprehensive program, exposure of Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists' employees to external and internal radiation has been kept well below the NRC's radiation dose limits and consistent with the NRCs As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) concept.
Our comprehensive radiation therapy program confers with the highest standards of care due to the many qualitative controls currently in place to ensure safe and accurate delivery of treatments to our patients. The entire radiation therapy treatment process is complex, which involves multiple transfers of information and data between different highly qualified professional staff members, across various work areas, in order to deliver the radiotherapy treatment. With such a multi-integrated system, each procedure and stage necessitates a high level of accuracy at every step in order to minimize the occurrence of safety related incidents. By integrating some of the most technological advances of radiation therapy, we are able to improve dose conformity while significantly shortening treatment times and reducing dose to the patient's normal tissues and organs. Here at the Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists, we prioritize patient safety by following these high levels of quality assurance that provide radiation therapy to patients and incorporate a rigorous and comprehensive set of safety rules.
- machine related quality assurance checks including a daily systems check of the beam output and emergency interlocks as well as physics checks of all equipment on a monthly basis;
- secondary calculations that verify the accuracy of the radiation dose calculated by our treatment planning systems;
- a review of all treatment plans by our highly qualified medical physics/dosimetry team;
- additional quality assurance checks of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) and Rapid Arc plans prior to treatment;
- checks by our therapy staff verifying agreement between the radiation dose in the treatment plan and the treatment console; and
- verification of the physician's written directive, the prescribed dose and the patient's identity.
While we know that all treatments pose some risks, the belief is that the benefits outweigh the risk, and patients should discuss these risks as well as the benefits with their doctors. Our staff is committed to the very highest standards in the delivery of radiation therapy to our patients. We continuously work to strengthen training, quality assurance and patient safety here at Arizona Breast Cancer Specialists. Please feel free to discuss your treatment plan and our quality assurance processes with your radiation oncologist or with any member of our staff.