ASTRO patient education campaign wins award

12/22/04

December 22, 2004 – The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Fairfax, Va., has won the Award of Excellence in the 2005 Associations Advance America awards program, a national competition sponsored by the American Society for Association Executives. ASTRO received the award for its public awareness campaign to help cancer patients and their families better understand their treatment options. The campaign is now in the running to receive a Summit Award, ASAE's top honor for association programs.

"I'm simply thrilled that ASTRO is being recognized for its public awareness campaign," said Laura I. Thevenot, ASTRO Executive Director. "Our dedicated cancer specialists have been working very hard to create materials to help patients learn more about life-saving treatment options, such as radiation therapy. It's an honor to see these efforts recognized."

In the fall of 2003, ASTRO conducted focus groups to discover how much the public and cancer patients knew about the different treatment options. What they found was that the public knew very little about radiation therapy and had trouble differentiating between chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

To correct the problem, ASTRO worked to create accurate, up-to-date brochures on how radiation therapy works to treat various cancers, in particular breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, and colorectal cancer. ASTRO also published a lengthy booklet detailing how radiation therapy works and what patients can expect during treatment as well as a brochure on the healthcare professionals that work together to treat patients with radiation therapy. Each brochure contains information patients can use to talk to their cancer specialists when deciding on a course of treatment. They also include information on support groups and clinical trials. After creating the brochures, ASTRO distributed them to patient support organizations and doctors' offices in the U.S. and around the world to get the information into the hands of the patients who need it most. Since the first brochure was published in February 2004, more than 67,000 copies of the brochures have been given out.

Now in its 15th year, the prestigious Associations Advance America awards program recognizes associations that propel America forward – with innovative projects, knowledge creation, citizenship and community services. Although association activities have a powerful impact on everyday life, they often go unnoticed by the general public.

"ASTRO's program truly embodies the spirit of the Associations Advance America Campaign," said David Gabri, 2004-2005 Associations Advance America Committee Chair. "It is an honor and an inspiration to showcase this activity as an example of the many contributions associations are making to advance American Society."

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