“The ASTRO template is designed to foster better coordination of posttreatment care for cancer survivors, including greater clarity in the dialogue between radiation oncologists and primary care physicians for issues such as less-common side effects that may appear well after treatment is completed,” explained ASTRO Chairman Bruce D. Minsky, MD, FASTRO.
“This 2-page template facilitates consistency in SCPs across the discipline and also reduces the time and effort required by providers to complete each individual plan,” Chen added. “The field of radiation oncology has a long tradition of creating treatment summaries for each patient, even before the Institute of Medicine recommended survivorship care plans in 2006. This radiation-oncology specific template will serve a dual purpose as both a traditional radiation oncology treatment summary and a plan for survivorship that meets CoC requirements.” This will reduce the burden of creating 2 documents for each patient, Chen said.
The treatment-summary component of the ASTRO template outlines survivors’ diagnosis and disease-stage data; treatment details including site, radiation dose, and fraction schedules delivered; and contact information for the radiation therapy providers.2 The follow-up care plan component includes anticipated radiation-associated side effects and potential late effects, expected course of recovery, possible functional and social impairments, prevention recommendations, including behavioral goals; additional cancer information and sources for more information; and referrals to supportive and ancillary care providers.2 A third page includes additional technical details of radiotherapy that are typically included in treatment summaries.2
In the future, disease-specific templates may be promulgated as well, Chen and his coauthors reported.2 These “will include more granular details regarding expected toxicities and follow-up care recommendations,” and coordination with electronic medical record system vendors to “facilitate autocreation of SCP documents … to further reduce the burden of creating SCPs,” they reported.2
Bryant Furlow is a medical journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1. Koontz BF, Benda R, De Los Santos J, et al. US radiation oncology practice patterns for post-treatment survivor care. Pract Radiat Oncol. 2016;6(1):50-56. doi:10.1016/j.prro.2015.10.002.
2. Chen RC, Hoffman KE, Sher DJ, et al. Development of a standard survivorship care plan template for radiation oncologists. Pract Radiat Oncol. 2016;6(1):57-65. doi:10.1016/j.prro.2015.10.001.