American Society for Radiation Oncology: Climate Change Statement

The ASTRO Board of Directors has approved a climate change policy statement in response to growing concern regarding its impact on patient care.

Climate change poses a threat to the delivery of cancer care. Severe weather events can disrupt treatment schedules and clinical courses. Additionally, environmental stressors contribute to increased cancer risks. These effects result in a substantial cost to our patients, care providers, health care systems and overall health equity. To address these challenges, we propose the following key pillars for focused action within the scope of ASTRO’s key strategic priorities:

Key Pillars:

  1. Education and Engagement: ASTRO is committed to educating patients and providers about the impact of climate change on cancer care and radiation therapy delivery. ASTRO aims to build climate health resiliency for the most vulnerable by promoting disaster preparedness and providing tools to reduce climate-related risks.
  2. Health Care Environmental Sustainability: ASTRO promotes sustainability practices, including resource conservation, waste reduction, energy efficiency and decarbonization to mitigate the impact of climate change.
  3. Environmental Justice/Health Equity: ASTRO recognizes the disproportionate burden experienced by minoritized communities related to climate change and the importance of policies that achieve environmental justice and promote health equity. Climate actions must address and reduce health disparities.
  4. Advocacy: ASTRO supports efforts to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on cancer care and radiation therapy delivery. We aim to empower patients, providers and policymakers to promote actions addressing these impacts.
  5. Innovation: ASTRO values research and innovation in climate health resiliency, adaptation and mitigation as it pertains to radiation therapy and cancer care. Examples include exploring new approaches to address climate-related challenges and fostering industry partnerships to develop sustainable practices and technologies that will ultimately enhance patient health, improve oncologic outcomes and promote health equity.