Newswise — ARLINGTON, Va., January 24, 2017 – The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) today expressed strong support for the nomination of David Shulkin, MD, as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). ASTRO Chair David C.

Beyer, MD, FASTRO, issued the following statement: “ASTRO is deeply committed to improving the quality of cancer care for our nation’s veterans and all Americans. We believe Dr. Shulkin’s experience as VA undersecretary and as a physician-executive makes him uniquely qualified to accelerate reforms that will improve quality in the VA health system.

“Under the new administration, ASTRO’s experts in cancer treatment and research look forward to continuing our work with the VA, including our partnership with the VA’s National Radiation Oncology Program, which oversees the development and execution of radiation therapy within the VA, on the Radiation Oncology Practice Assessment (ROPA) program. ROPA will provide radiation oncologists at the VA with comprehensive feedback reports that show how each of their patients’ diagnoses, treatments and treatment outcomes compare with national standards. Combined with the traditional cancer outcome measures of recurrence and survival, this assessment allows oncologists to see how changes in their clinical practice impact the success of each veteran’s cancer treatment.

“Approximately 60 percent of cancer patients receive radiation therapy, including the brave men and women treated through the VA. ASTRO looks forward to working with Dr. Shulkin on ROPA and other opportunities to improve the quality of radiation oncology care among veterans and all cancer patients, and we urge the Senate to confirm Dr. Shulkin’s confirmation.”

The ROPA program, which is led by Washington University, abstracts data from the VA’s electronic medical record system into detailed feedback reports provided to VA radiation oncologists. Disease site-specific experts from ASTRO completed the first phase of the project in August 2016 by identifying quality measures for prostate and lung cancer patients.

ABOUT ASTRO ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes three medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (, Practical Radiation Oncology ( and Advances in Radiation Oncology (; developed and maintains an extensive patient website, RT Answers (; and created the Radiation Oncology Institute (, a nonprofit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit