News and Publications

Early-bird for H&N closing soon, ASTRO patient survey results, 2020 Final Rules webinar

November 27, 2019

Early-bird registration closes December 4 for Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium
Don’t miss the leading head and neck cancers meeting for radiation oncologists! The Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium takes place February 27-29 at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. Learn from top radiation, medical and surgical head and neck cancer oncologists during interactive sessions and hear about the latest research during oral and poster presentations. Imaging, pathology and guidelines are also incorporated into the program content for more comprehensive education. New this year are all-digital posters: more than 200 posters will be available for viewing at and after the Symposium. The top 30 posters will also be highlighted in a new Poster Theater during an evening reception in the Exhibit Hall. Register by December 4 to take advantage of early-bird registration rates!

ASTRO patient survey finds 1 in 3 needed more information on cancer treatment side effects
An ASTRO-sponsored survey of patients treated with radiation therapy points to gaps in patient counseling and informed consent processes. The nationwide survey of more than 400 U.S. adults, which was published November 20 in the Journal of Oncology Practice, found that for each major treatment modality, approximately one-third of patients experienced treatment-related side effects that they wish they had known more about (radiation therapy 37%, chemotherapy 36%, surgery 34%). Radiation-related side effects that patients most commonly wished they had known more about included skin irritation, GI symptoms and fatigue. Actual experiences with radiation therapy side effects were generally in line with expectations, although notable numbers of patients felt more tired or weak or experienced worse changes in their energy level than expected. The survey also found that nine in 10 patients felt they made the right treatment decision, and most perceived their radiation oncologist to have the same (47%) or more (20%) cancer knowledge as their other oncologists (“less” 6%, “not sure” 13%, RO was only oncologist 14%).

Register now for December 4 Final Rules Webinar
The 2020 ASTRO Final Rules Webinar is scheduled to take place Wednesday, December 4, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. This webinar will examine provisions in the 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) final rules that will impact the field of radiation oncology effective January 1. In addition to a review of the final rules, the webinar will also cover issues that continue to be a challenge for many radiation oncology practices. More information on the 2020 Final Rules Webinar can be found at academy.astro.org.

Reminder to comment on radiation therapy for cervical cancer guideline – time is running out!
ASTRO requests feedback on the draft Radiation Therapy for Cervical Cancer: An ASTRO Clinical Practice Guideline. The scope of the guideline is limited to curative management of invasive carcinomas of the uterine cervix, which include squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. It focuses on management of cervical cancer with radiation therapy and its indications, techniques and outcomes. Additionally, it covers other therapies that modify the efficacy of radiation therapy when used concurrently or in sequence (e.g., chemotherapy and/or surgery). Comments can be submitted via webform through Monday, December 2, 2019.

Data sharing: NIH public comment request and ASTRO’s new policy
The National Institutes of Health Office of Science Policy recently released a draft NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing, and they are requesting public comment no later than January 10, 2020. As a reminder, this request comes shortly before the implementation of ASTRO’s data sharing policy. Neither data sharing nor a data sharing plan are required for ASTRO journals at this time, but starting with papers submitted January 1, 2020, journal guidelines will require data availability statements. CME credit is offered free of charge for those interested in learning more about this new policy.

New RT for lung cancer PowerPoint available
In recognition of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the Communications Committee has posted a new lung cancer PowerPoint presentation on ASTRO.org. This presentation is designed for providers to download and share with residents and/or fellows in the fields of pulmonology, thoracic surgery and medical oncology. Users may format the slides as needed to fit target audience. The presentation focuses on the important role of radiation therapy in the treatment of lung cancer. It joins the already popular presentations Radiation Therapy for Health Care Providers and Radiation Therapy for the General Public. The Communications Committee will continue to develop PowerPoint presentations like these and welcomes feedback on the Open Forum in the ROhub.

CMS issues IMRT billing compliance reminder
On November 21, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Connects report reminding hospitals to comply with Medicare’s Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) billing requirements. In light of this, ASTRO strongly encourages all members of the radiation oncology community to familiarize themselves with CMS issued resources that inform and clarify billing for IMRT services. ASTRO welcomes questions from members about proper coding for IMRT using the Coding Question Fillable Form.

ROhub anniversary activities coming to a close
As we near the end of the first anniversary of ROhub and the celebratory scavenger hunt, we would like to thank everyone for their contributions to ROhub in the past year — whether by posting, participating in an AMA (Ask Me Anything), or upvoting posts. For those interested in participating in the scavenger hunt: you have until Saturday, November 30, to complete the three activities. View more information about the scavenger hunt on ROhub. Winners will be entered into a drawing for $50 in ASTRO cash, of whom five will be randomly selected. ASTRO cash can be applied toward any ASTRO purchase including membership, online continuing education courses and conferences. Good luck to all those participating!

#GivingTuesday: Support the ROI on Tuesday, December 3
Only six days to go! #GivingTuesday is next Tuesday, December 3. Contributions made online to the Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) on #GivingTuesday will be matched by an ROI Board member up to a total of $5,000. Mark your calendar to give to the ROI next Tuesday and double your gift for radiation oncology research!