Risks of Radiation Therapy

Many of you have now seen the article that was published in the NY Times on January 23rd (read article here). We are posting this article as we field many questions from community members about these new types of radiation therapy.  As we can see by this article, even some of the largest hospitals have had problems with both mechanical and human error.  I cannot stress enough that all mesothelioma patients considering new technology should investigate the experience of the center, the experience of the personnel designing the treatment and then the experience of those administering treatment.  We are fortunate to have developed relationships with expert radiation oncologists who assist me in determining where to send patients for therapy if they are unable to go to an expert mesothelioma center.
Cancer treatment often requires travel far from home, but to avoid these potential pitfalls, I truly believe that you need to be in the hands of experts.  Hospitals and Cancer Centers heavily market themselves and it is easy to be swayed when you are feeling vulnerable.  My mom always said the “proof is in the pudding”, in this case the reports of clinical trials using these machines in mesothelioma patients are proof of efficacy. If you enter a clinical trial using some of these new techniques, there are more personnel involved as the protocols must pass rigorous peer review and then IRBs (Institutional Review Boards) which were put in place to protect patients.
There is a role for radiation therapy and having a consultation with an expert to guide you is crucial.  Often times the therapy can be mapped out at an expert center and with the help of these seasoned radiologists, you can be placed in good hands to have the treatment delivered close to home.

~Mary Hesdorffer, NP

Click here to contact Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner or call 877.363.6376

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