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Volume 17, Number 6, 2012

The prescription of oral anticancer drugs: Another perspective

Luis Linares, Adela Poitevin, Cuauhtemoc De la Pena, Keith R. Britton, Rosalba Ospino, Raul Lara, Gustavo Sarria, Neiro Motta, Nicholas Rene, Luis Pinillos, Paulo Novaes, on behalf of the Latin Association of Radiation Oncology (ALATRO)


A recent editorial in this journal argued against restricting the right of non-medical oncologists to prescribe oral anticancer drugs. As representatives of the Latin American Association of Radiation Oncology (ALATRO), we fully support the position expressed by the Spanish Society of Radiation Oncologists (SEOR) in that editorial. We believe the outcome of this ongoing debate in Europe has the potential to shape the future of cancer care around the world. For these reasons, we feel compelled to make our own views of this issue known.

Some—though we presume not all—medical oncologists believe that only they should control the prescription of oral cancer medications. However, most other cancer care specialists strongly disagree. The authors of the aforementioned editorial argue that the campaign being carried out by medical oncologists is largely a defensive manoeuvre. The diminishing use of intravenously delivered anti-cancer drugs—long the domain of medical oncology—coupled with the rise of newer, orally administered drugs and targeted molecular agents, could pose a threat to the very existence of the speciality of medical oncology. This threat may be real, but we believe that such an aggressive response to this perceived danger is misguided. The field of oncology needs greater collaboration, not less.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2012; 17(6) : 295-297

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