Radiation oncology

As the region's leader in radiation oncology services, Spectrum Health Cancer Center at Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion provides radiation therapy to more patients than any other health care facility in West Michigan. Radiation oncology services are also available at our Holland and Reed City locations. We offer a full range of treatments and state-of-the-art technologies.

The radiation oncology program at Spectrum Health is certified by the American College of Radiation Oncology.

Making radiation therapy more effective while reducing potential side effects

More than a dozen special procedures are available. Tapping into some of the latest advancements in radiation oncology, we offer highly specialized procedures, including the Novalis TxTM Stereotactic Radiosurgery System, an image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) that can offer shorter treatment sessions through higher doses. The system precisely targets small lesions and tumors, sparing the patient's healthy surrounding tissues, nerves and structures. It is the first equipment of its kind in West Michigan.

A comfortable, welcoming environment for cancer patients

In keeping with our patient-and family-centered approach to care, the radiation oncology area at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion was designed with feedback from our patients. One of their most prominent concerns was the dark, uncomfortable environment that typical facilities, almost all of which are located underground, have. We listened, and built our facility above ground to take advantage of the natural light and vaulted ceilings. We believe you will find it a comforting and welcoming environment in which to receive your treatment.

For more information about our Radiology Oncology Services, call (616) 486-5750.

Radiation therapy team

An entire team of medical professionals with advanced training and years of experience deliver radiation treatment and care. Together, they continually work on ways to make radiation therapy more effective while at the same time preventing side effects. The radiation therapy team can include:

Clinical nurse specialist
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A registered nurse with a master's degree and advanced clinical practice in oncology nursing who specializes in the care of cancer patients. These specialists serve in several different roles depending on the setting. They may give direct patient or family care; supervise staff's care of patients and families; do nursing research related to cancer patients; or teach patients, families, and staff about cancer, treatment and side effects.

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A board-certified medical professional who uses critical thinking and problem-solving skills to create the plans to be used for treatment. Dosimetrists work with the physicians and physicists to help develop a customized treatment plan for the individual. They also monitor the progress of treatment to make sure that it meets the requirements of the planned prescription. They may be called upon to assist in treatment at various times.

Medical physicist
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A board-certified medical professional who reviews all aspects of treatment to assure a high-quality and safe treatment delivery. These experts work with all members of the team to develop and implement the care plan. Most of the time, their work is done behind the scenes during the planning of treatment. For special procedures, the medical physicist may work closely with patients during the course of their treatment.

Radiation nurse
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Provides nursing care during radiation therapy, working with all members of the radiation therapy team. These nurses talk with patients about radiation treatment and help manage side effects.

Radiation oncologist
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A highly trained, board-certified and licensed doctor who uses radiation therapy in its various forms for care for patients. He or she prescribes how much radiation is received, plans how treatment will be given, follows the patients closely during their course of treatment, and prescribes care that may be needed to help with side effects. These specialists work closely with the other doctors, nurses and health care providers on the team. After patients are finished with radiation therapy, the radiation oncologist sees them for follow-up visits. During these visits, the doctor will check for late side effects and assess how well the radiation has worked.

Radiation therapist
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Works with patients during each radiation therapy session, positions patients for treatment and ensures patients get the dose of radiation prescribed by the radiation oncologist.

Other health care providers
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The team may also include a dietitian, physical therapist, social worker and others.

The patient

The patient is the most important part of the radiation therapy team. 

His or her role is to:

  • arrive on time for all radiation therapy sessions
  • ask questions and talk about concerns
  • let someone on the radiation therapy team know if experiencing side effects
  • tell the doctor or nurse about any pain
  • follow the advice of doctors and nurses about at-home care, such as maintaining skin care, drinking liquids eating recommended foods and keeping weight stable.

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