Radiation therapy remains a mainstay of cancer treatment: it is estimated that around half of all cancer patients in Europe, in the US probably close to two-thirds, receive radiation therapy as part of their initial therapy, for salvage or for palliation. There are good reasons to expect the role of radiation therapy in the management of cancer to expand in the next decade. This is partly because of changing demographics: the aging of the population means that an increasing fraction of cancer patients will be elderly and may present with comorbidities making nonsurgical management of their disease an attractive option. At the same time, more widespread implementation of cancer screening programs in the coming years means that more patients will present with early disease where persistent tumor control with organ and functional preservation are realistic treatment aims. But most of all, the role of radiation therapy is likely to expand as a result of a number of recent technological and biological advances that are rapidly changing the way we prescribe, plan and deliver radiation therapy alone or in combination with other modalities and these could potentially widen the indications for combination therapies involving ionizing radiation as one component. These advances are the topic of the current volume. Naturally, a volume like the current one can only highlight some selected areas of progress and we have chosen to organize these thematically under four broad, partly overlapping headings: Imaging and Theragnostic Radiation Oncology, Molecular Biology and Targeted Therapies, Treatment Delivery and Planning, and finally, Clinical Advances.
This book provides an up-to-date comprehensive overview of the exciting new developments shaping the current and future practice of radiation oncology. Advances in treatment planning and delivery, in biological targeted therapies combined with radiation and in functional and molecular imaging are all covered in a single volume. All of these advances are discussed by leading experts in the field and with a critical evaluation of their clinical relevance throughout.