When the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation needed an expert to discuss radiation therapy for a question-and-answer session, it turned to Craig W. Stevens, M.D.
It was a natural choice. He is a leader in the field.
Stevens, who helped pioneer the use of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) for patients with pleural mesothelioma, has been at the head of the class for almost 20 years.
At Moffitt, he focused on thoracic cavity diseases, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. He worked with the radiation oncology, thoracic oncology and experimental therapeutics programs. His role will expand at Beaumont to include more administrative duties, overseeing the expanded mesothelioma program.
He wrote a lengthy editorial, “Personalized Treatment Approaches in Radiation Oncology: The Future is Now,” for Cancer Control, official journal of the Moffitt Cancer Center. It was designed to help those around him better understand the future. He wrote:
There has been a surge of new technological abilities in image guidance, radiation planning, and beam-targeting capabilities. Recent research and technical advances now demand that our colleagues in other fields of oncology understand modern radiation therapy.
The goal of IMRT that he helped pioneer was to deliver the maximum radiation doses to tumors and cancer cells without impacting healthy tissues and organs nearby. It worked by developing alternative ways to direct and target the IMRT therapy.
For MARF, he wrote about using radiation therapy to help with pain control for mesothelioma patients.
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“Several retrospective studies demonstrate improvement in mesothelioma-induced pain, with doses above 45Gy showing the best efficacy. . . . In my experience, the great majority of patients treated for pain get at least transient improvement with this regimen,” he wrote. “Radiation also has been shown to essentially eliminate drain/incision failures. Twenty to forty percent of patients will experience a failure at a drain site or incision site. These are often very painful. Three treatments of 7 Gy can essentially eliminate such failure.”
Stevens focuses much of his clinical research on cancers of the chest, including mesothelioma. He worked extensively on lung tumor radiation treatment, planning and predicting response to radiation of tumor and tissue.
Fast Fact: Early in his career, Dr. Stevens developed a research interest in predicting tissue response to radiation.
He will be part of the Lung Cancer Screening Program at Beaumont that should help save lives through early detection. The program is recommended for older, high-risk patients and involves low-dose CT scans.
He worked earlier at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. He was board certified for radiation oncology in 1994 and has received numerous awards for his work, including the American Cancer Society Career Development Award. He also is a member of the Lung Committee for Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.
He received his medical degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, where he also received a Ph.D. in Tumor Biology. He did his internship at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
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