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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Radiotherapy delays risk lives

3rd April 2007

A damning report has revealed that over half of all cancer patients needing radiotherapy are waiting too long for it.

Consulting Room

The unpublished study by the National Radiotherapy Advisory Group (NRAG) shows massive variations in the availability of cancer treatments around the country and has found that more than half of patients needing the life-saving treatment are being forced to wait longer than the Government’s ‘maximum acceptable delay.’  Those living in the North of England, around the M25 and on the South Coast have far less access to treatment than those in other parts of the country, the report found.

The report echoes another by the Royal College of Radiologists which found that only 47 per cent of patients needing post-operative radiotherapy received it within the acceptable time frame.  The college concluded that the chance of a cure was lessened for many patients due to delayed treatment and also revealed that waiting times are worse now than they were in 1998.

Professor Karol Sikora, who worked on the report for the NRAG said, “Systematic delays abound. Three months’ waiting time for radiotherapy is common.?  She added that while the public demand more funding for cancer drugs, radiotherapy is being forgotten. “It’s as good as the drugs but isn’t thought of as being as exciting,? she said.

Each year in the UK more than a quarter of a million people are diagnosed with cancer and it is estimated that one in three of us will develop some form of cancer at some point in our lives.

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