(Washington, DC, Monday, May 23, 2016) - Echoing the call from Vice President Biden and the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, more than 100 members of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) will head to Capitol Hill to meet with their senators and representatives in Washington D.C.
Their goal is to underscore the importance of investing in cancer research with sustainable and predictable funding. The doctors also are urging members of Congress to pursue value-based healthcare payment systems, end physician self-referral abuse and preserve funding for graduate medical education, to ensure the U.S. is equipped to handle the growing number of cancer patients and survivors.
Brian Kavanagh, MD, chair of radiation oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and president-elect of ASTRO, stresses the importance continued funding for cancer treatment and research.
RADIATION THERAPY HAS BEEN AN ESTABLISHED SAFE EFFECTIVE CANCER TREATMENT FOR WELL OVER A HUNDRED YEARS. IRONICALLY, FEDERAL FUNDING FOR RESEARCH IN THIS AREA REMAINS WELL BELOW THAT OF OTHER AREAS OF TREATMENT FOR CANCER. WEâ€™RE FORTUNATE THAT NEW TECHNOLOGY HAS BEEN ALLOWING RADIATION ONCOLOGISTS TO DO A MUCH BETTER JOB THEN IN THE PAST OF ELIMINATING CANCER CELLS BY TARGETING THE TUMOR PRICESLY AND AVOIDING TO A GREAT EXTENT THE NORMAL TISSUES THAT ARE NEAR BY. AND ITâ€™S THESE INNOVATIONS THAT HAVE CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO THE IMPROVEMENTS WEâ€™VE SEEN ACROSS THE BOARD IN SURVIVORSHIPS FOR A WHOLE SPECTRUM OF CANCERS. IMPROVEMENTS IN HEAD AND NECK CANCER, BREAST CANCER, PROSTATE CANCER, COLORECTAL CANCER, AND LOTS OF OTHER COMMON CANCERS ALL OF WHICH ARE TREATED OFTEN AT LEAST IN PART BY RADIATION THERAPY.
THE RESEARCH COMMUNITY IS ON THE VERGE OF FINDING BETTER TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR ALL TYPES OF CANCER PATIENTS. COMBINATION THERAPIES, FOR EXAMPLE, CAN ATTACK CANCER FROM MULTIPLE DIFFERENT ANGLES, AND ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING EXAMPLES IS THAT RADIATION THERAPY CAN ACTUALLY JUMPSTART A PATIENTâ€™S IMMUNE SYSTEM AND BOOST THE EFFECTS OF IMMUNOTHERAPY. UNDERSTANDING EXACTLY HOW AND WHY THESE CUTTING-EDGE TREATMENTS INCREASE SURVIVAL IS CRITICAL TO MATCHING THEM TO THE RIGHT PATIENTS, AND THAT UNDERSTANDING IS SIMPLY MORE DIFFICULT TO REACH WITHOUT INCREASED FUNDING FROM CONGRESS FOR THIS TYPE OF INNOVATIVE CANCER RESEARCH.
For more information, visit www.astro.org