More than four hundred of Canada's most accomplished radiation
oncologists and therapists, physicists, neurosurgeons and electronic
engineers will come together in Winnipeg, September 14 to 17, to share
the very latest research findings and clinical applications for
successfully treating Canadians with cancer.
Dr. Matthew Parliament, President of the Canadian Association of
Radiation Oncology (CARO-ACRO), which marks its 25th annual scientific meeting this year, describes how radiation therapy
plays a critical role in curing the disease.
OTTAWA, Sept. 13, 2011 /CNW/ - A cancer diagnosis is a shocking and
disruptive intrusion for our patients and their families. Normal life
rhythms are interrupted and foundations rocked by the sudden need to
focus all one's energy on survival. The good news is that each and
every day we are discovering and applying new knowledge that improves
quality of life for our patients while they fight cancer, and often
results in a complete cure.
Canada's oncology researchers, scientists and clinicians are at the
global forefront of developing, testing and implementing new strategies
and methods to confront and stop (or severely impede the growth of)
most types of cancer.
The genome sciences now allow us to analyze the specific genetic make-up
of many cancer tumours; and, highly sophisticated cancer imaging helps
doctors to pinpoint the size and location of the tumour in the body.
These breakthroughs help medical and radiation oncologists to prescribe
extremely targeted and increasingly effective, personalized
chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments.
While most people are familiar with chemotherapy - drug treatments that
are designed to attack and kill cancer tumours, many do not know about
or understand the value of radiation therapy (RT) in confronting and
stopping cancer. Depending on the specific type and severity of the
cancer diagnosed, RT is often the preferred method of treatment.
Used alone, RT can cure cancer in many cases. It involves the use of
external x-rays, electron beams or internally implanted radioactive
seeds to kill or shrink cancer tumour cells, and/or to stop them from
growing and reproducing. RT is the primary treatment for various skin
cancers, cancers of the mouth, nasal cavity, pharynx (throat) and
larynx (voice box), brain tumours, many gynecologic cancers, as well as
lung and prostate cancers.
RT is used in combination with other treatments such as surgery and
chemotherapy for breast, bowel, gynecologic, lung, testicular,
childhood and bladder cancers, as well as lymphomas like Hodgkins
disease and many others.
This remarkably safe, non-intrusive, effective treatment is also used to
relieve cancer patients' pain resulting from the spread of cancer in to
their bones; to slow or stop bleeding at tumour sites in the body; and,
to alleviate blockages that interfere with patients' breathing or
There are a number of misconceptions about radiation therapy that are
addressed in a Radiation Therapy Myth Buster information package
developed by our association. It can be found on the association's web
site at www.caro-acro.ca, in the 2011 Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) Media Room folder.
Briefly, radiation therapy is not painful. It does not cause you to lose
your hair unless the scalp is treated. Patients who receive external
radiation therapy are never radioactive. RT treatments last from
seconds to minutes each visit. Patients who receive internal treatments
- known as brachytherapy, involving the placement of special seeds into
or close to the cancer tumour, may remain radioactive for a short
period of time.
Radiation oncologists, their colleagues and related equipment
manufacturers are continually enhancing RT delivery methods and
machines' capabilities to zero in on targeted cancer cells. National
safety and delivery protocols are in place at all Canada's cancer
centres ensuring the most-up-to-date and consistent treatments.
Supporting each patient there are up to 15 specialists and staff,
dedicated to designing, delivering, monitoring and evaluating radiation
The collaborative nature of our work, both in the clinical environment
and in the research labs, results in ever-improving outcomes for our
patients. From the new techniques being developed, such as robotically
controlled radiosurgery - a non-invasive alternative to surgery for the
treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumours anywhere in the
body, to the use of nanotechnologies to enhance radiation therapy, our
unwavering commitment to our patients is to shorten length of treatment
where possible, spare healthy tissue and organs, and painlessly
Author: Matthew B. Parliament MD FRCPC
President, Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology
Director, Radiation Oncology
Cross Cancer Institute/University of Alberta
Image with caption: "A cancer diagnosis is a shocking and disruptive intrusion for patients and their families. Normal life rhythms are interrupted and foundations rocked by the sudden need to focus all one's energy on survival. Dr. Matthew Parliament, CARO President describes how radiation therapy plays a critical role in curing the disease. (CNW Group/Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110913_C2519_PHOTO_EN_3081.jpg
SOURCE Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology
For further information:
To arrange an interview with Dr. Parliament, please contact:
Judy McLarty, APR