Banner Health Services  

Ask the Expert - Radiation Oncology


Robin Johnson is the director of Radiation Oncology at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center

Question: What can patients expect when they are sent to the Radiation Oncology Department?

Answer: The patient will have a consult with the Radiation Oncologist to determine the best method of treatment. The patient will then have a simulation to begin planning their treatment coarse. The patients will come for their treatments Monday thru Friday for approximately 4-6 weeks. The side effects are very site specific. If we are treating a patient with Breast Cancer, the side effects might include redness of the skin in the area we are treating and towards the end of treatment, some fatigue. If we are treating a patient with a pelvic cancer, side effects might range from diarrhea, cramping, skin redness and towards the end of treatment, some fatigue.

Question: What should a patient do to get the most out of this treatment?

Answer: The patients do best during their treatment if they listen to their bodies. Patients should rest when they feel tired, eat healthy balanced meals and stay hydrated. It’s important for patients to take their medications as prescribed by their physicians. One important thing for patients to have with them when they see any of their physicians is to always have a list of current medication they are taking so the physician can prescribe any new medications and know if there might be any side effects with current medications they are taking at the moment.

Question: What programs and services does the Radiation Oncology Department provide at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center?

Answer: We offer external beam radiation therapy, including 3-D Conformal Radiation Therapy, IMRT, and Prostate Seed Implants.

Question: How many Banner Thunderbird employees work in Radiation Oncology? What are some positions in the department that are not in other areas of the hospital?

Answer: 20 of the best!! There are 2 nurses, 2 secretaries, 5 Radiation Therapist, 2 Dosimetrists, 2 Physicists, 2 Radiation Oncologist, 1 dietician, and 1 social worker. We also have 3 oncology data managers that collect information on any cancer patient that comes through BTMC. As a team, we are unbeatable when it comes to customer service.

Question: What makes the Radiation Oncology department special or unique?

Answer: Our staff! We have had 0% turnover for the last 5 years. The teamwork in the department is incredible and the patients can defiantly feel it. Dr. Luk, the Medical Director of the department, has an incredible relationship with our patients and is well know in the community for his knowledge and passion for excellent Cancer care.

Question: How many patients are seen each year in Radiation Oncology? What are the most common reasons for patient visits?

Answer: We see over 400 new patients each year. The majority of those patients are eventually treated at our facility. Some patients come for second opinions and may decide to have surgery or chemotherapy instead of radiation therapy.

Question: What kind of feedback do you receive from patients and family members about their visits to Radiation Oncology?

Answer: The patients love us. The patients tell us that they wish every doctor’s office ran as smoothly and efficiently as our department does. The patients feel like they are family and are sad when they are done with their treatment because they won’t get to see the staff everyday. When the patients do come to see the doctors for follow up care, they always want to see everyone who interacted with them during their treatments to catch up on what has been going on. Even after years have passed, they comment on how “everyone is still here”! We have some of the most compassionate, empathetic, and dedicated employees that truly make a difference in peoples lives.

Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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