How radiation therapy is used to safely and effectively treat various cancers

To help cancer patients and their families better understand their treatment options before making a decision, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology has published seven patient information brochures that explain how radiation therapy is used to safely and effectively treat various cancers.

Five of the brochures cover radiation therapy options for specific types of cancer, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and colorectal cancer. ASTRO has also published a lengthy booklet detailing how radiation therapy works and what patients can expect during treatment as well as a brochure explaining all the healthcare professionals that work together to treat patients with radiation therapy.

Each brochure contains information patients and their families can use to talk to their cancer specialists when deciding on a course of treatment. They also include information on support groups and clinical trials. The brochures are free to cancer patients and advocacy groups by visiting or calling 1-800-962-7876.

"Although there are literally thousands of Web sites and patient brochures out there on cancer, we felt that the sections on radiation therapy were often inaccurate or out-of-date. We thought it would be helpful to publish our own material reflecting all the exciting changes in our specialty that are helping cure patients of their cancer," said Louis Harrison, M.D., Chair of the ASTRO Communications Committee and a radiation oncologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. "We hope that this information will help patients and their families better understand the treatments available to them in order to make an informed decision on a treatment that's right for their cancer and lifestyle."

ASTRO is currently working on two additional brochures on brain tumors and gynecologic cancer, which should be available in early 2005.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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