Purpose: About half of all cancer patients in the United States receive radiation therapy as a part of their cancer treatment. Little is known, however, about the facilities that currently deliver external beam radiation. Our goal was to construct a comprehensive database of all radiation therapy facilities in the United States that can be used for future health services research in radiation oncology. Methods and Materials: From each state's health department we obtained a list of all facilities that have a linear accelerator or provide radiation therapy. We merged these state lists with information from the American Hospital Association (AHA), as well as 2 organizations that audit the accuracy of radiation machines: the Radiologic Physics Center (RPC) and the Radiation Dosimetry Services (RDS). The comprehensive database included all unique facilities listed in 1 or more of the 4 sources. Results: We identified 2,246 radiation therapy facilities operating in the United States as of 2004-2005. Of these, 448 (20%) facilities were identified through state health department records alone and were not listed in any other data source. Conclusions: Determining the location of the 2,246 radiation facilities in the United States is a first step in providing important information to radiation oncologists and policymakers concerned with access to radiation therapy services, the distribution of health care resources, and the quality of cancer care. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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