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Radiation Therapy

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NEWS
February 15, 2010 | By Eric M. Horwitz
It's hard not to be shaken by recent reports of medical errors involving CAT scans and radiation therapy. Last month, The Inquirer reported that the Philadelphia VA Medical Center had acknowledged that its prostate cancer program violated federal radiation rules and is facing more than 30 claims of treatment mistakes. And the New York Times recently published a series of articles detailing the gruesome outcomes of medical radiation errors. While we can assume that the intent of these and other media reports is to call attention to safety lapses, it would be tragic if they led patients to fear needed diagnostic testing and radiation therapy.
NEWS
January 31, 2016
Three experts from Fox Chase Cancer Center's Department of Radiation Oncology answer frequently asked questions about radiation therapy. Q: What is the goal of radiation therapy with respect to treating cancer? A: For most patients, the goal is to get rid of the cancer completely and, hopefully, prevent it from returning. But for those whose cancer has spread, radiation may be used palliatively, to make symptoms better and improve quality of life, knowing that we likely will not cure the cancer.
NEWS
July 3, 2010 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Over the last year, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center has taken most of the public heat for a prostate-cancer-treatment program that went astray for six years, giving incorrect radiation doses to 97 out of 114 veterans. Now, the University of Pennsylvania - which designed, staffed, and supervised the radiation program - is feeling the pressure. Five veterans who received substandard therapy have filed federal lawsuits against various university entities, including its hospital and health system.
LIVING
July 17, 2000 | By Stacey Burling, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Higher doses of radiation therapy improve survival rates for men with the most aggressive types of prostate cancer, according to a study in the current Journal of Clinical Oncology. The research is evidence that radiation therapy is better than nothing, something that has not been proven, said Richard Valicenti, assistant professor of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College and lead author of the study. Because prostate cancer often grows slowly, doctors have wondered whether treatment is helpful in older men, who could die of something else before the cancer kills them.
NEWS
January 22, 2001 | By Margie Fishman, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Holy Redeemer Hospital and Medical Center is planning a $6.3 million cancer center that will offer three levels of cancer treatment and a resource room for patients and families. The two-story, 20,000-square-foot center is set to open in June. It will be in the main hospital building off Huntingdon Pike but will have a separate entrance and a 14-space parking lot. "We are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the coming revolution in cancer care and offer our patients cutting-edge technologies through clinical trials that otherwise wouldn't be available for several years," said Peter Pickens, a medical oncologist at Holy Redeemer.
NEWS
February 4, 2001 | By Nancy Petersen, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Phoenixville Hospital has announced plans to expand its cancer center this spring with the latest generation of treatment equipment, more treatment options, and a full range of support services. At the center, cancer patients and their families will have access to all the services they need, officials said. "There are not many places where that is done," said oncologist Christopher Holroyde, medical director of Phoenixville Hospital's Cancer Center. "But it has always been my principle that this is the best way to do it. " Key to the expansion is the hospital's purchase of a linear accelerator, which delivers intense, precisely targeted doses of radiation without harming the surrounding healthy tissues.
SPORTS
March 12, 1994 | by Paul Hagen, Daily News Sports Writer
Tests revealed no spread of cancer that was found in John Kruk's right testicle when it was removed Tuesday night, and though that is welcome news for all concerned, a few twists and turns remain in this story. Even as Kruk wisecracked his way through another media session at a nearly deserted Jack Russell Stadium yesterday, the Phillies were taking the field at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg for an exhibition game against the Cardinals. Playing first base: Mariano Duncan.
SPORTS
July 30, 1994 | By Frank Fitzpatrick, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
John Kruk had convinced himself that no matter what the diagnosis, he would not submit to any more radiation treatments. "I wasn't going to go through that again," Kruk said yesterday, after returning from Philadelphia, where he'd learned that the lumps he'd discovered in his body earlier in the week were not cancerous. "I would have let it take its course and died," said the Phillies first baseman, who underwent radiation treatments for testicular cancer last spring. "That was awful," he said.
NEWS
September 3, 1989 | By Petria May, Inquirer Staff Writer
Eileen McCullough, 60, founder of the Philadelphia School of Radiation Therapy, the first school to teach X-ray technologists to perform radiation therapy, died Friday at Lankenau Hospital in Lower Merion Township. At the time of her death, Ms. McCullough was director of the radiation therapy technology program at Gwynedd-Mercy College. Ms. McCullough was born in Atlantic City, and her family moved to Southwest Philadelphia shortly after she was born. She spent the rest of her life in Philadelphia.
NEWS
January 28, 1990 | By Mary Anne Janco, Special to The Inquirer
An advertisement in an Irish newspaper that offered a scholarship to study radiation therapy in the United States caught the eye of Samantha Kelly, a 19- year-old native of Bandon, Ireland. The fact that she would have to spend three years miles from home didn't deter her. "I don't think there would have been much future for me at home," Kelly said. "It's very difficult to get into radiation therapy in Ireland. " So Kelly applied and became one of three Irish students who have received scholarships to study radiation therapy at Gwynedd Mercy College.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
January 31, 2016
Three experts from Fox Chase Cancer Center's Department of Radiation Oncology answer frequently asked questions about radiation therapy. Q: What is the goal of radiation therapy with respect to treating cancer? A: For most patients, the goal is to get rid of the cancer completely and, hopefully, prevent it from returning. But for those whose cancer has spread, radiation may be used palliatively, to make symptoms better and improve quality of life, knowing that we likely will not cure the cancer.
NEWS
October 4, 2015 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Radiation therapy has transformed breast cancer treatment over the last 40 years by enabling women with small, early-stage tumors to opt for breast-conserving lumpectomies instead of mastectomies. But conventional whole-breast radiation can be inconvenient, even impractical, for some women because it requires brief sessions Monday through Friday for about six or seven weeks. Logistical challenges force many early-stage patients to choose mastectomy, or to skip part of their prescribed course of radiation, studies have found.
NEWS
January 11, 2015 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Radiation is a powerful cancer treatment, but protecting healthy tissue from the scatter of damaging rays is challenging. As a result, women who get radiation for cancer in their left breast - which overlaps the heart - have been found to be at increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer. A new study by Thomas Jefferson University researchers confirms that such women can significantly reduce the incidental radiation dose to their hearts with a simple technique: holding their breath.
NEWS
December 21, 2014 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Most U.S. women who opt for lumpectomy and radiation to treat early-stage breast cancer get irradiated for twice as many weeks as necessary, adding to the cost and inconvenience of the therapy, according to a University of Pennsylvania analysis. High-qual-ity studies have shown that just three weeks of a newer, higher-dose type of radiation are as safe and effective as six to seven weeks of conventional radiation. In 2011, radiation oncology guidelines endorsed the shorter course of "hypofractionated" therapy for lumpectomy patients over age 50. Yet only about a third of such women got it in 2013 - up from about 11 percent in 2008, the researchers found using insurance claims from health plans covering 9 million women.
NEWS
July 3, 2010 | By Marie McCullough, Inquirer Staff Writer
Over the last year, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center has taken most of the public heat for a prostate-cancer-treatment program that went astray for six years, giving incorrect radiation doses to 97 out of 114 veterans. Now, the University of Pennsylvania - which designed, staffed, and supervised the radiation program - is feeling the pressure. Five veterans who received substandard therapy have filed federal lawsuits against various university entities, including its hospital and health system.
NEWS
February 15, 2010 | By Eric M. Horwitz
It's hard not to be shaken by recent reports of medical errors involving CAT scans and radiation therapy. Last month, The Inquirer reported that the Philadelphia VA Medical Center had acknowledged that its prostate cancer program violated federal radiation rules and is facing more than 30 claims of treatment mistakes. And the New York Times recently published a series of articles detailing the gruesome outcomes of medical radiation errors. While we can assume that the intent of these and other media reports is to call attention to safety lapses, it would be tragic if they led patients to fear needed diagnostic testing and radiation therapy.
BUSINESS
September 15, 2009 | By Stacey Burling INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Medicare in this region will cover a controversial radiation treatment for prostate cancer that takes fewer days than the most common type of external radiation. Highmark Medicare Services Inc., which administers payments for 4.2 million Medicare subscribers from Washington, D.C., to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, was considering dropping coverage for stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). Several machines can deliver this treatment, but it is most commonly associated with CyberKnife, made by Accuray Inc. Accuray mounted a public relations campaign against the proposed rule change.
SPORTS
August 27, 2009 | THE INQUIRER STAFF
Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, who was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer this spring, returned to classes this week and said he hopes to play for the Eagles again next season. Herzlich, the defensive player of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference last fall, will finish radiation therapy this week. The 21-year-old graduate of Conestoga High in Chester County still faces five rounds of chemotherapy, but he said his doctors are encouraged by the early results of treatment for Ewing's sarcoma.
BUSINESS
August 4, 2009 | By Stacey Burling INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
CyberKnife radiosurgery - which uses narrow beams of radiation to kill several types of cancer - is marketed as a less invasive, more convenient way to treat prostate cancer, a pitch that has proved convincing for about 3,000 men over the last six years. But some prostate-cancer experts have reservations. Because prostate cancer grows slowly and because radiation side effects can emerge after many years, they say it is too soon to call the treatment a success. And those concerns have unleashed a battle over insurance payments that may soon leave thousands of men unable to afford this increasingly popular option.
NEWS
June 22, 2009 | By Marie McCullough INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Almost as soon as the Philadelphia VA Medical Center began offering radiation seed therapy to prostate cancer patients in 2002, questions arose about the quality of the treatment, federal investigators said. Yet it wasn't until a year ago that anything happened. The Philadelphia VA suspended the "brachytherapy" treatment program and began examining whether more than 100 veterans had received inadequate radiation doses. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees such radiation therapy, launched an investigation and published some results this month in the Federal Register.
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