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Teshima T , Owen JB , Hanks GE , Sato S , Tsunemoto H , Inoue T
A comparison of the structure of radiation oncology in the United States and Japan
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics. 1996 Jan 1;34(1) :235-242
PMID: ISI:A1996TN90900032   
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Purpose: The United States and Japan have very different backgrounds in their medical care systems. In the field of radiation oncology, national surveys on structure have been conducted for both countries and compared to illustrate any similarities and differences present from 1989-1990. Methods and Materials: The Patterns of Care Study Facility Survey conducted in 1989 in the United States and the National Survey of Structure in Japan in 1990 were compared to evaluate the equipment pattern, staffing pattern, compliance rate with the ''blue book'' (3) guideline, and the geographic distribution of institutions. Results: In the United States, a total of 598,184 (49% of the total of newly diagnosed) patients were treated with radiation therapy. In Japan, 62,829 (approximately 15% of the total of newly diagnosed) patients were treated. The numbers of external megavoltage treatment machines were 2,397 in the United States and 494 in Japan, The numbers of full time equivalent (FTE) radiation oncologists were 2,335 in the United States and 366 in Japan. Only 15% of United States facilities and 11% of Japan facilities complied with the narrow blue book guideline for the patients per FTE radiation oncologist (200- 250), while the most common ratio was 151-200 patients/FTE in the United States and 51-100 in Japan. In Japan, more than 60% of institutions were staffed by a part-time radiation oncologist (FTE < 1.0). Between geographic regions, there was variation in the percentage of cancer patients treated with radiation therapy for both the United States (42-56%) and Japan (6-25%). Conclusion: There is a major difference in the usage of radiation therapy for treating cancer between the United States and Japan with 49% of all new cancer patients treated in the United States and approximately 15% treated in Japan. Equipment structure in the United States is more complete than in Japan with important differences in treatment simulators, treatment planning computers, and support personnel. High dose rate intracavitary radiation is commonly available in Japan and there are geographic differences in radiation oncology utilization in both countries.
Times Cited: 10 English Article TN909 INT J RADIAT ONCOL BIOL PHYS