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On-Site Radiation Service Increases Use for Cancer

Likelihood of receiving radiation doubles for cancers for which effectiveness is unclear

MONDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Having radiation services on-site at a hospital doubles the likelihood that patients who have cancers that are not known to respond to radiation treatment will receive it, according to study findings published online Jan. 8 in Cancer.

Sandra L. Wong, M.D., and colleagues from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, examined the association between the use of radiation therapy in cancer treatment and the on-site availability of radiation services. They reviewed the records of 10,198 patients with either rectal cancer, for which the effectiveness of radiation therapy is well-established, or pancreatic cancer, for which the effectiveness of radiation therapy is unclear.

The researchers found that the percentage of patients with rectal cancer who underwent radiation therapy was unaffected by the presence of on-site radiation services (29 percent for both cases). However, patients with pancreatic cancer were significantly more likely to receive radiation therapy if the services were available on site (odds ratio, 2.1).

"The availability of on-site radiation services significantly increased the likelihood that patients would receive radiotherapy, at least for cancers for which the effectiveness of such therapy was not well-established," Wong and colleagues conclude.

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