North Carolina Oncologist Meets With Congress to Advocate for Continued Cancer Research Funding

American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is in D.C. for its 13th Annual Advocacy Day
Audio: 
Lawrence B. Marks, MD, Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of North Carolina & ASTRO’s Clinical Affairs and Quality Council Chair

(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.

Lawrence B. Marks, MD, chair and professor of radiation oncology at the University of North Carolina and ASTRO’s Clinical Affairs and Quality Council Chair, stresses the importance continued funding for cancer treatment and research.

SOUNDBITE #1:

RADIATION THERAPY HAS BEEN A SAFE AND EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR PATIENTS WITH CANCER FOR ABOUT A HUNDRED YEARS. YET FEDERAL FUNDING FOR RESEARCH IN RADIATION THERAPY REMAINS LOWER THAN WE BELIEVE IT SHOULD BE.  THERE ARE MANY NEW TECHNOLOGIES  THAT ALLOW RADIATION ONCOLOGISTS TO BETTER TARGET THE RADIATION TO BETTER KILL THE CANCER  WHILE AT THE SAME TIME PROTECTING THE HEALTHY TISSUES. THESE IMPROVEMENTS  IN RADIATION THERAPY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE IMPROVEMENTS IN  SURVIVAL RATES FOR MANY PATIENTS WITH CANCER.  FOR EXAMPLE, THERE HAVE BEEN IMPROVEMENTS WITH PATIENTS WITH PROSTATE CANCER, BREAST CANCER, HEAD/NECK CANCER AND MANY OTHER CANCERS AS WELL.

SOUNDBITE #2:

THE RESEARCH COMMUNITY IS ON THE CUSP OF FINDING BETTER TREATMENTS  FOR OUR  PATIENTS WITH CANCER. COMBINATION THERAPIES, FOR EXAMPLE, ATTACK THE CANCER FROM MULTIPLE ANGLES.  ONE EXAMPLE OF THIS MIGHT BE  USING RADIATION THERAPY TO JUMPSTART  THE PATIENT’S OWN IMMUNE SYSTEM AND BOOST THE EFFECTS OF IMMUNOTHERAPY. UNDERSTANDING HOW AND WHY THESE CUTTING-EDGE TREATMENTS IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR OUR PATIENTS  IS CRITICAL FOR US TO KNOW  HOW BEST TO MATCH THESE THERAPIES TO THE APPROPRIATE PATIENTS. UNDERSTANDING ALL OF THIS HOWEVER, IS VERY DIFFICULT TO DO  WITHOUT INCREASED FUNDING FROM CONGRESS TO SUPPORT THIS TYPE OF INNOVATIVE  RESEARCH.

For more information, visit www.astro.org

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