Uniquely West Texas: UMC’s Southwest Cancer Center


UMC’s Southwest Cancer Center is a nationally recognized leader in the fight against cancer.

“That’s what I always strive for: to always do the best I can do,” said, Dr. Ramzi Adulrahman, radiation oncologist and clinical professor. 

By definition, a radiation oncologist is a physician who treats cancer with radiation as a tool, but the job goes much deeper than that. Radiation starts with a CT Simulation, and it determines the exact location, size, and shape of a tumor. 

A 4D CT Scan gives the radiation oncologists a better idea of how to plan for your treatment. Once they develop the plan, it’s time for therapy. 

“This is a linear accelerator, and this is to deliver treatment with radiation therapy to patients. It’s a treatment with protons and electrons,” said Ramzi.

It’s the oldest oncology specialty, and you have to be tech savvy.

“We’re dealing with computers and precision. Whatever surgeons cannot take out, we radiate them,” said Dr. Carlos Torres, medical director of radiation oncology. 

“When the tumors are very advanced, doing a surgery would be very morbid. So, you can cure it with radiation therapy,” said Ramzi.

“I was always fine, and I went to talk to the doctor to do all the checks, and then they told me I had cancer. I was like wow, I was just surprised,” said Rafael Hernandez.

Hernandez was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2016 and she finishes Radiation Therapy in May.

“It was detected early and I took care of it immediately,” said Hernandez. “It’s hard. You only understand when it’s happening to you.”

If it wasn’t for the support from her family and her doctors at the cancer center, she said wouldn’t be where she is today.

“My kids were always there for me and I just kept going, so I’m OK,” Hernandez said. 

“I feel good about myself, doing my job. I sleep at night very well because I know I’m doing something good,” said Dr. Ramzi. 

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