ASTRO commends U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s update to policies concerning brachytherapy

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The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) issued a statement Friday in support of a final rule published this week by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regarding patient access to permanent implant brachytherapy.

According to the final rule, states that have been authorized to regulate radioactive materials, as determined by the NRC, must maintain “a consistent program” for reporting events for permanent implant brachytherapy. The rule makes “several key changes to how the NRC defines medical events for permanent implant brachytherapy, most notably adopting activity-based rather than dose-based criteria for event reporting.”

ASTRO notes that this rule addresses issues its members have been concerned about for some time.

“ASTRO commends the NRC for moving forward with changes that maintain its rigorous standards of quality and safety while demonstrating a flexibility to meet modern medical needs,” David C. Beyer, MD, ASTRO chair, said in the statement. “As the number of patients seeking permanent implant brachytherapy continues to grow, so does the need for physicians and practices to provide this treatment. By adopting more accurate and more appropriate criteria for reporting brachytherapy-related medical events, the NRC has removed a barrier for clinicians looking to treat patients with this established therapeutic option. This step is likely to both protect and increase access to cancer care for a large number of patients.”