More UK cancer patients should receive radiotherapy

Added 07/09/2010

Nurse talking to patient

Cancer Research UK has revealed that 4 in 10 cured cancer patients received radiotherapy as part of their treatment, which outlines its effectiveness. Radiotherapy is more widely available to cancer patients in Europe, so why isn’t it being used to treat more patients in the UK?

New cancer drugs have taken the limelight in recent years, and radiotherapy has been put on the backburner. With efforts being concentrated on the development of new drugs, a gap has appeared in the radiotherapy service in the UK.

Things are starting to change and a lot of work is being put into making radiotherapy a more accessible form of treatment for cancer patients. But there is still a way to go before cancer patients in the UK receive a world class radiotherapy service.

Radiotherapy techniques that are being used successfully throughout Europe are not being implemented in the UK. There is a shortage of radiographers in the UK, which means some cancer patients have had to wait too long for their radiotherapy treatment. 40% of cancer patients in the UK are given radiotherapy when in fact 50% should be receiving it.

Cancer Research UK believes that there is a deficit of radiotherapy resources due to the lack of awareness surrounding the treatment. Radiotherapy isn’t getting enough political attention because the focus is largely on the development of new cancer drugs.

The general public needs to be made aware of the benefit of radiotherapy to cancer patients. Patients need to know how radiotherapy can benefit them so that they can make informed decisions about what treatment to receive.

Cancer healthcare services need new talent in the UK. People looking to pursue a career in healthcare need to know about radiotherapy in the first place if they are to chose a career in this particular area.