ASTRO   |   RT Answers

Colleen A.F. Lawton, MD, FASTRO

Why is the ROI so important to you?

ROI presents an opportunity to foster research that will not happen without ROI funding. At least half of all cancer patients should receive radiation as part of their treatment, yet utilization of our field continues to decrease. We need the research for the field to progress. Often, cancer patients never hear about radiation and ROI gives an opportunity to get the word out.

Why should others donate to ROI?

Radiation oncologists are well-educated and well-compensated. I believe that for those who are given much, much is expected. It’s a gift to be able to give back. With declining research dollars, donations help fund much needed research. After all, the ultimate goal is to help the patients and that’s what the donations are doing.

What are your hopes for the future of radiation oncology? 

My hope is to be able to cure more patients with less toxicity.

What are your hopes for ROI?

It is my hope that the ROI will be associated with pioneering research, which has already begun and will be showcased at the ASTRO Annual Meeting in Miami
Beach. I hope that people realize this is only the beginning and won’t be possible going forward without more ROI dollars. It is imperative that ROI continues to make things happen in a timely way and increasing ROI donations will allow that to happen.

What is something about you not everyone knows?

I come from a large, tradiational Catholic family with seven brothers and no sisters! Needless to say, I'm comfortable in the male world. It is very easy for me to advocate strongly for prostate cancer given my background. In addition, my father had this disease.

Why did you decide to go into the radiation oncology field?

I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and find the long-term relationships that we build very rewarding. I find it particularly gratifying to use a tool like radiation to fix cancer as we often do cure patients without the mutilating side effects of other cancer treatments.


Dr. Lawton is Professor and Vice-chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology; the Clinical Director, Radiation Oncology, Froedtert & Medicial College Clinical Cancer Center; and Associate Director, Radiation Oncology Medical Residency Program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. She is also Vice-president of ROI and a Trustee in the ROI Founders' Circle.