Radiation risks explored by Congress

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I am spending a few days in Washington,D.C., with Suzanne Lindley, the founder of YES, who is here to testify before the subcommittee on health. Since a series documenting radiation treatment errors in The New York Times earlier this year, there has been an ever increasing call for federal oversight into issues of accreditation and training for those who dispense radiation therapy. Suzanne, a 12-year survivor of metastatic colon cancer, is here with the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance to advocate for the benefits of radiation, which has added to her life.Diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 1998 and told to go home and wrap up her life, 31-year-old Suzanne decided to try the new drugs emerging before giving up. In 2004 she was close to death and out of options when a friend told her about Selective Internal Radiation Therapy, where small beads of radiation are sent to the tumors directly. Within six months of receiving the treatment, she had a 65 percent reduction in her tumors. Suzanne is an amazing advocate. She founded YES for any patient with cancer in their liver to provide information and support, and for someone who used to hide from college classes that required she speak in front of the class, she can now keep an audience spellbound.She reminds me of one of the gifts of hanging out with cancer survivors. You get to see what courage, hope, and faith really look like. You'll be reading more about Suzanne in the summer issue of CURE.