Patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are provided with a variety of life-extending medical treatments, with the most common being surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
According to recently published statistics, most American cancer patients – including those with mesothelioma – receive support in paying for these treatments from Medicare, but from 2009 to 2014 radiation oncology Medicare reimbursements were dramatically cut.
A large contingent of radiation oncologists from across the country are visiting Congress asking for greater support and protection for cancer patients rights, and access to this essential form of treatment.
Radiation oncologists are on the front line of mesothelioma treatment. The trip to Capitol Hill marks the 15th annual American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Advocacy Day, and its emphasis is on preserving patient access to quality cancer care.
The group is hoping that their visit will result in a strengthening of the Medicare payment system for their service, but also in support for cancer research and funding for the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute.
“More than one million cancer patients are treated with radiation therapies each year, either to cure their cancer or relieve pain and other difficult symptoms. Radiation oncology provides immense value to the health care system,” Chair of the ASTRO Board of Directors Brian Kavanagh, MD, MPH, FASTRO said.
“Radiation oncologists are visiting Capitol Hill to remind Congress of the multidisciplinary nature of cancer care and call for the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the nationwide transition to value-based health care.”
Radiation therapy has played an important role in the treatment of mesothelioma, and research is showing that it may have even more significant use when combined with other innovative therapies.
President Trump has proposed cutting the National Institute of Health budget by $2.3 billion, which would lead to a $300 million cut in funding for the National Cancer Institute. The members of ASTRO are asking Congress to reject the cuts, and instead to support an increase of $2.2 billion, which would mean a $410 million increase for the National Cancer Institute.
Mesothelioma patients benefit from Medicare’s support of radiation oncology treatments, as well as from further research. If you or someone you love has been impacted by mesothelioma and you need information on resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.