Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Compassionate palliative radiotherapy

Compassionate palliative radiotherapy for hospice cancer patients

VCU Massey Cancer Center offers the Compassionate Palliative Radiotherapy Program to help increase terminal cancer patients’ access to radiation therapy for the alleviation of pain and improvement of quality of life.

The program offers same-day evaluation and single fraction palliative radiotherapy to help relieve pain in any cancer patient enrolled in hospice who no longer has access to health insurance. This program is affordable and reduces the burden of multiple visits. Currently, the Department of Radiation Oncology at Massey absorbs most of the cost, only charging hospice programs a flat fee of $400.

Multiple large phase 3 clinical trials long ago demonstrated that single fraction palliative radiotherapy is just as effective in relieving pain as multiple treatments. Patients generally experience 50-80 percent reduction in pain within two weeks to two months after treatment. One-third of patients are even able to stop taking narcotics, which can cause adverse side effects such as constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, urinary retention, delirium and non-responsiveness.

Treatment is overseen by radiation oncologist Alfredo Urdaneta, M.D., at Massey’s main facility in downtown Richmond on the MCV Campus.

To refer a patient, please download and fax the intake form or contact Dr. Urdaneta at (804) 628-1021 or aurdanet@mcvh-vcu.edu