ASTRO 2014: A golden gate to learning and improving

By John H. Suh, MD, Editor-in-Chief

Every September, schools welcome eager students for another year of learning, studying, and test taking. In addition, another much-anticipated September event for the radiation oncology community occurs—the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). This year’s 56th conference, held in San Francisco Sept. 14-17, is poised to not only break attendance records, but has received a record-breaking number of abstracts (2,870 plus) and posters (more than 1,850). You’ll also find 360 oral scientific presentations, and 144 digital posters, the latter of which debut a new format and include touch screens, video and audio, as well an oral presentation by the author and longer viewing times (10-5 Sunday through Tuesday).

ASTRO will also discuss RO_ILS, the new patient safety initiative, and will unveil the second list of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” for Choosing Wisely, a campaign designed to help patients target care that’s evidence-based, not duplicative, free from harm and truly necessary.

Furthermore, with more than 200 exhibitors vying for your attention, ASTRO provides a terrific opportunity to embrace new developments in radiation oncology, discuss them with your peers, and plan a better tomorrow for cancer treatment. As you explore the meeting’s theme, “Targeting Cancer: Technology and Biology,” be sure to make time for the 4 Plenary Sessions and 8 Clinical Trials, which feature the conference’s most highly rated abstracts. Also, you should not miss the three keynote talks: “New Horizons in Oncologic Imaging: Unraveling Pathways to Synergy,” “New Approaches to Targeting K-Ras,” and “Human Error and Just Culture.” You will learn innovative ways to incorporate many exciting changes as well as boost your knowledge.

Speaking of which, ARO’s September issue presents a new approach to improving adaptive planning through a creative basketball comparison in Hey, coach! Put me in! Improving the score in radiation oncology. Even if you don’t know that Lebron James decided to take his talents back to Cleveland, UCLA’s Mitchell Kamrava, MD, breaks down the analogy of how watching the game in real time, calling time-outs as needed, making last minute changes, and shifting players, can ultimately lead to winning results in the radiation oncology arena.

This issue also describes how SBRT has evolved over the past 15 years and revolutionized the management of early stage NSCLC. Kevin L. Stephans, MD, a staff member of Cleveland Clinic, provides a great overview with his article Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for lung cancer. In addition, interesting case reports on rectosigmoid cancers and scalp angiosarcoma are also featured.

From these pages to ASTRO’s vast opportunities, I hope you enjoy the educational offerings that abound this month—and the positive impact it will have on your practice.

As always, thank you for supporting ARO. See you in San Francisco!