The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Clinical Affairs and Quality Committee has developed a guideline for the use of radiation therapy in treating bone metastases. The guideline will be published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics, an official journal of ASTRO.
Bone metastases are caused when a malignant tumor spreads to the bone. They can lead to debilitating effects including pain, fractures and paralysis due to spinal cord compression. The care of these patients requires collaboration between several types of cancer treatment specialists.
External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) provides successful pain relief in 50 to 80 percent of patients with little risk of side effects. However, the widespread variation in practice patterns between radiation oncologists presented an opportunity to standardize care through the construction of a formal treatment guideline.
Some of the committee's findings include:
Stephen Lutz, M.D., lead author of the guideline and a radiation oncologist at Blanchard Valley Regional Cancer Center in Findlay, Ohio, said, "Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat bone metastases and has been proven very effective, but with the variety of radiation therapies available and range of successful fractionation schedules, it's important to provide physicians with this guideline to assure they are using the most appropriate methods in treating patients."
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