The latest Clinical Oncology journal contains a well-balanced editorial from Bruno Fionda and Agata Rembielak which clearly sets out the issues that are holding back radiotherapy for benign diseases from wider adoption, which can be summarised as follows:
- Emergence of Alternative Treatments:
Particularly the development of new anti-inflammatory drugs and minimally invasive surgical techniques, which can offer a favorable toxicity profile.
- Educational Gaps:
The declining use of radiotherapy for benign conditions has led to fewer educational opportunities to pass these skills on to new generations of radiation oncologists.
- Perceived Risks:
Concerns continue to exist among non-radiation specialists about the potential risk of late side effects, despite the fact that the doses used in benign conditions are much lower than those used for malignant diseases.
- Limited Research:
A lack of randomised clinical trials can make it challenging to advocate for radiotherapy as a preferred treatment option during patient consultations.
- Inconsistent Clinical Practices:
There are variations in how radiotherapy is applied across different treatment centers, particularly for benign skin diseases, leading to inconsistencies in treatment outcomes.
- Need for More Clinical Trials:
The document emphasizes the need for well-designed, randomized clinical trials to bolster the evidence base supporting radiotherapy use in benign conditions.
Reading through this list, this reaffirms the value and importance of our overall mission. Each of these perceived roadblocks were part of the inspiration for the IORBC’s founding. And each can be reduced and resolved by pursuing our goals of improving awareness and education and the encouragement of research in this area.
We see this article as a call to arms which will invigorate us in our mission to act to tackle the issues holding back radiotherapy from achieving widespread and optimal clinical outcomes.
The authors of the article conclude with a mention of our organisation and its mission, and a comment that:
‘International networking and close communication play a pivotal role in the further development of radiotherapy in benign conditions’.
We could not agree more – and that is why we are here.
To read the full text, please visit: Clinical Oncology – Is There Still a Role for Radiation Therapy in the Management of Benign Disease?