Radiation oncology in Middle Tennessee

We are proud to collaborate with Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, one of the largest providers of radiation oncology services in the country. Our hospitals in Middle Tennessee have the most advanced technology to target cancerous areas.

For a free physician referral, call TriStar MedLine® at (615) 342-1919.

Our cancer care program is fully accredited by the Commission on Cancer (COC) and is the only hospital in the state of Tennessee to receive to receive the Breast Imaging Center of Excellence accreditation from the American College of Radiology (ACR). Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at TriStar Summit is also a designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology for achieving high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs.

What is radiation oncology?

Also known as radiation therapy, radiation oncology involves using carefully targeted doses of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells.

Who is on my care team?

Your care team will consist of many experts coming together to ensure the best possible care for you in your journey. Visit our experts page to learn more about the radiation therapy specialists.

What does the process look like?

Below you will find information on the key steps to expect in your radiation treatment. View a full list of frequently asked questions.

Initial consultation

After a brief registration process, you will have an initial consultation with your radiation oncologist. Your doctor will explain the diagnosis and the reason radiation therapy is necessary. The doctor will also talk to you about how many treatments you will need and what side effects to expect. The final step of your first visit will be to sign a consent form and schedule a radiation therapy planning appointment (simulation).

Radiation therapy planning

Radiation therapy planning requires a special CT scan, which is performed by one of our radiation therapists. While similar to other CT scans, this scan is different due to the positioning required to plan your radiation oncology treatment.

After the scan is complete, the radiation therapist will schedule you for your next visit. Radiation therapy planning is extremely complex and can take several days to complete. We understand you may be anxious to begin your treatment, but it takes time to create an optimized plan and perform the necessary safety checks.

Treatment setup verification

During your next visit, we will verify your treatment set-up. This is also known as checking "port films." After checking in with the receptionist, the radiation therapist will escort you to the treatment area.

This first session is not a radiation treatment; it is used to ensure that your treatments will be exactly as your doctor has planned. Your treatments typically begin within a few days of the verification session. The radiation therapist will explain the process of your daily check-in for treatments at the end of your verification.

Daily radiation treatments

Radiation treatments are delivered on consecutive weekdays, with the weekends off. The radiation therapists will work with you for an appropriate daily appointment time. Treatments can be as short as five minutes or as long as 30 minutes. Your therapists will let you know approximately how long it will take.

Due to privacy and safety concerns, family members may not come back to observe your radiation treatments. We understand that many patients want to share this experience with their families. However, we have to respect the privacy of every patient and the safety of our guests.

The medical staff will see you at least once a week during your course of radiation therapy. These visits are brief symptom-management checks and typically last five minutes.

State-of-the-art technology for radiation cancer treatment

Our radiation oncologists have specialized knowledge of rare, unusual and complex cancer types and treat many patients with these conditions. They have the ability to precisely treat the tumor and decrease side effects of treatment with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and a robotic radiosurgery system that is a non-invasive alternative to surgery. This treats both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body, including the prostate, lung, brain, spine, liver, pancreas and kidney. The treatment, which delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy, offers new hope to patients.

Find out more about the types of radiation therapy we offer.