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  • McLeod Cancer Center first in the state of South Carolina to achieve international radiosurgery certification

McLeod Cancer Center first in the state of South Carolina to achieve international radiosurgery certification

on Tuesday, 16 April 2019. Posted in Good life, News, Local News

McLeod Cancer Center first in the state of South Carolina to achieve international radiosurgery certification
Members of the McLeod Stereotactic Radiosurgery Team include, from left to right, Dr. T. Rhett Spencer, Radiation Oncologist; Dr. William Naso, Neurosurgeon; Dr. Larry Grubb, Radiation Oncologist; Tobin Hyman, Chief Medical Physicist; Dr. Virginia Clyburn-Ipock, Radiation Oncologist; and Lisa Esco, Medical Physicist.

The McLeod Center for Cancer Treatment and Research has been named a Novalis Certified Cancer Center following a rigorous and voluntary audit conducted by an independent, third-party panel of experts in radiation oncology, patient safety and treatment quality.

One of only eight Novalis Certified Centers in the United States, McLeod is the only such cancer center in South Carolina. The hospital also represents one of only 46 certified centers worldwide.

“These experts in the industry measured the quality and safety standards of our radiosurgery program and concluded that we are delivering stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) at a high level of efficacy and safety commensurate with an excellent standard of clinical practice,” explained Dr. Virginia Clyburn-Ipock, McLeod Radiation Oncologist.

On McLeod’s pursuit of this international certification, Tobin Hyman, MS, DABR, Chief Medical Physicist for the McLeod Cancer Center, added, “We believe that we have a great responsibility to patients and their families to commit our staff and equipment to a 360-degree review of our radiosurgery program. In today’s healthcare environment, specialized treatment techniques such as SRS and SABR should undergo a comprehensive external review at regular intervals to ensure the safest care possible is being delivered when you are treating patients with brain, spine or lung cancer.”

Advantages of SRS and SABR to patients include the ability to receive treatment in their own community. “A cancer diagnosis is a life changing event for all of our patients,” says Dr. T. Rhett Spencer, McLeod Radiation Oncologist. “Some of these patients are also living with advanced disease. The decision by McLeod to invest in the technology to plan and accurately deliver these types of cancer treatments means patients do not have to leave home at this stage of their lives to receive the highest level of care. At this point in their cancer journey, patients often want to live to reach certain milestones. They wish to spend quality time with their family and friends. We make that possible offering these forms of cutting-edge treatments.”

SRS and SABR also benefit a patient’s time with fewer treatments. Compared to conventional radiation therapy which involves smaller daily doses of radiation in 25 to 35 treatments over five to seven weeks, SRS/SABR delivers five to ten times the daily dose of radiation in as few as five days of treatment. The increased dose improves the effectiveness of this form of treatment.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a non-surgical radiation therapy that treats cancerous tumors in the brain and spine. This form of treatment allows the McLeod Radiation Oncology team to deliver precisely-targeted radiation with sub-millimeter accuracy in a fewer number of treatments offering patients more convenience and a better quality of life.

When the team uses radiotherapy to treat tumors in areas of the body other than the brain and spine (lung, liver, adrenal gland, prostate); it is referred to as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy. These two forms of treatment, performed at McLeod, function differently from conventional radiation in that the intent involves delivering an ablative dose to overwhelm all of the abilities of a cancer cell to defend itself.

To date, the McLeod Radiation Oncology team has treated nearly 200 patients with stereotactic radiosurgery and more than 160 with stereotactic ablative radiotherapy.

Novalis Certified is an independent accreditation program that promotes the delivery of cranial and body radiosurgery at the highest level of competency and expertise. In addition to assurance that the McLeod Cancer Center goes above and beyond standard measurements for quality care delivery, the radiation oncology team also has the ability to share information with other leading cancer centers. Being a part of this worldwide communication and collaborative network enables McLeod to receive new ideas on treating cancer, improving the safety of treatment and making existing techniques better.

In addition to this certification, McLeod Radiation Oncology has been accredited by the American College of Radiology - Radiation Oncology Practice Accreditation program (ACR ROPA) since 2013. Of the roughly 2,500 radiation centers in the United States only 710 of those or 26 percent are accredited by the American College of Radiology.

Recognized nationally for its quality and safety initiatives, McLeod Health has a leading regional presence in Northeastern South Carolina and Southeastern North Carolina and a dedication to the health of the more than one million residents of those communities it serves from the midlands to the coast. McLeod is also constantly seeking to improve its patient care with efforts that are physician led, data-driven and evidence-based.

Founded in 1906, McLeod Health is a locally owned and managed, not for profit organization supported by the strength of approximately 750 members on its medical staff and more than 2,000 registered nurses. McLeod Health is also composed of approximately 8,500 employees and more than 90 physician offices throughout its 18-county service area. With seven hospitals, McLeod Health operates three Health and Fitness Centers, a Sports Medicine and Outpatient Rehabilitation Center, a Behavioral Health Center, Hospice, and Home Health Services. The hospitals within McLeod Health include: McLeod Regional Medical Center, McLeod Health Darlington, McLeod Health Dillon, McLeod Health Loris, McLeod Health Seacoast, McLeod Health Cheraw and McLeod Health Clarendon. On the coast, the McLeod Health Carolina Forest complex has opened the first two of seven medical park office buildings. Multiple physician practices occupy these two office buildings as an extension of McLeod Health Seacoast. This 43-acre outpatient medical campus is designed to provide services to meet the healthcare needs of residents within and around the Carolina Forest area.

Novalis Certified is steered by Novalis Circle, a worldwide network of clinicians dedicated to the advancement of radiosurgery. Novalis Radiosurgery users represent the leading edge in the application of Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) and Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) and their participation in the Novalis Circle community indicates their strong commitment to improving healthcare. Novalis Circle provides a communication and collaborative network for developing new ideas and optimizing treatments that will continue to change the face of cancer treatment. The Novalis Standard was established and approved by a Novalis Circle expert committee. For further information, visit

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