Expert Point of View: Brian Kavanagh, MD

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“Lung cancer patients are living longer with stereotactic body radiation therapy. Patients should have access to this care. It would be tragic if we couldn’t give this treatment to patients who need it,” said Brian Kavanagh, MD, President of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and a radiation oncologist at the University of Colorado, Denver. Dr. Kavanagh moderated a press conference where both studies were discussed.

“Seventy is the new 40. Older patients are healthier in many segments of the population than ever before, and the undertreatment of patients in Dr. Farach’s study might reflect a component of ageism. We wouldn’t want to deny a life-extending therapy to patients who can benefit from it,” Dr. ­Kavanagh declared. “It is pretty rare in medicine to see such a dramatic improvement over such a short period of time.”

He continued: “What we are observing in these studies is better outcomes for a treatment with a higher value—a better quality of care at a lower cost because SBRT is a smarter, more efficient way to deliver therapy, with fewer visits and shorter treatment time, that is easier for patients. The theme of this year’s ASTRO meeting was ‘Enhancing Value, Improving Outcome’, and these two studies resonate well with those objectives.” ■

Disclosure: Dr. Kavanagh reported no potential conflicts of interest.

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