Increased investment in radiotherapy will improve cure rates for European cancer patients
The scenarios where radiotherapy can be used for curative (and palliative) treatment of cancer have steadily increased, and radiotherapy now forms a part of the treatment of more than 50% of all cancer patients. However, in many countries, treatment capacity is exceeded and access to treatment is a major problem. This was the conclusion of three leading European radiation oncologists who were jointly presenting their findings at the 23rd Meeting of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology here today (Tuesday 26th October).
According to Prof Michael Baumann (UK Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden, Germany), Prof Ann Barrett (University of East Anglia School of Medicine, Norwich, UK), Dr Ole Nielsen (Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark) and Dr Søren Bentzen (Gray Cancer Institute, Northwood, UK) there is a wealth of experimental and clinical data which indicates that cure rates decrease with increasing waiting time for radiotherapy. “Increasing demand without increasing the resources to match, results in patients welfare being jeopardised”, explained Prof Baumann. “Increased waiting times can result in tumours growing beyond a curative size or in tumours metastasising. For tumours to grow beyond a curable size takes weeks or even months”, emphasised Prof Baumann. “But in some countries waiting times of this length are not uncommon and urgent action needs to be taken if all patients are to have equal access to optimal care”.
In very few EU countries do the number of linear accelerators (machines used to deliver radiotherapy) match the number known to be required to adequately provide treatment. In those few countries with national guidelines to govern the numbers of linear accelerators per head of population, none have achieved the target set out in the guidelines.
Prof Baumann cited the example of the U.K and the Netherlands where calls for increased investment in radiotherapy (provision of equipment and training of staff) had resulted in substantial improvements. “Recent figures show improved cure rates across a range of cancers in the UK which is, in part, due to improved availability and access to treatment”. “Overall though, in many countries of the European Union a high proportion of patients requiring radiotherapy receive their treatment not within what oncologists would agree is an acceptable time,” explained Prof Baumann. “This under-use of radiotherapy reflects the lack of availability of linear accelerators and trained staff to operate them”.
“On behalf of the 6,000 European radiation oncologists that ESTRO represents, we would urge European health ministries to move quickly to allocate sufficient resources to make sure that all patients eligible for radiotherapy are treated in a timely manner, according to accepted guidelines”, said Prof Baumann. “Radiotherapy is a cost-effective and proven treatment for cancer that can cure and reduce suffering in hundreds of thousands of patients in Europe each year. It is critical that funds are allocated to ensure that patients receive the best care possible and the best opportunity of surviving their disease”.
Stuart Bell | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...