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ASTRO publishes white paper on IMRT safety
Date:7/14/2011

As part of the Target Safely initiative, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has developed a white paper, the first of a series of such papers, on the safe use of integrating intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) into the radiation oncology clinic. The executive summary of this white paper is published in the July print issue of Practical Radiation Oncology (PRO), ASTRO's clinical practice journal. The full text of the document is available in advance of print online at www.practicalradonc.org.

Radiation therapy has been used safely and effectively for more than 100 years to treat cancer. In the past few decades, researchers have created new techniques for delivering radiation that further target the tumor while sparing nearby healthy tissue, thus improving the chances of a cure while minimizing side effects. One such technique is called intensity modulated radiation therapy or IMRT.

IMRT is a tremendous advance in the safe and effective delivery of radiation. However, it also requires much more time and resources from cancer clinics, radiation oncologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists, nurses and their support staff to be done correctly.

Errors in radiation therapy are extremely rare, but ASTRO's leadership knows that even one error, however minor, is too many. That's why ASTRO began the Target Safely initiative to help the radiation oncology community further prevent treatment delivery mistakes.

The main concerns raised in this white paper are:

  1. IMRT is a time and resource intensive procedure. Practitioners must work together as a team to address environmental and technical concerns to improve patient safety.
  2. Timely treatment is important. However, pressure and real-time changes to treatment plans can lead to errors. This report encourages the use of standard operating procedures and "forced time outs" to assure adequate time to perform re
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Contact: Beth Bukata
bethb@astro.org
703-839-7332
American Society for Radiation Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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