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Expert group warns radiotherapy is still underused in England

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 28 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4871
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1BMJ

Only about two thirds of cancer patients in England who would benefit from radiotherapy currently receive it, warns an expert group that is recommending improved awareness and training about the latest targeted radiotherapy techniques in cancer treatment.

Modelling suggests that just over half (52%) of cancer patients could benefit from radiotherapy, but only 37% receive it, Mike Richards, national clinical director for cancer, told the meeting. “Lack of awareness among some doctors of the efficacy and the low rate of side effects with some of the latest techniques for delivering radiotherapy may explain the underuse of this treatment option for cancer.

“We have introduced measures to deal with lack of staffing and resources in radiotherapy and improved previously long waiting times. The next step is improving commissioning of radiotherapy so that patients who …

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