Radiotherapy is undervalued across Europe, says new white paper

7 November 2018

HPP has led on the development of a white paper on radiotherapy, on behalf of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) and the ESTRO Cancer Foundation (ECF), launched as part of the Marie Curie Legacy Campaign.

The white paper – Radiotherapy: seizing the opportunity in cancer care – was authored by a group of experts from Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. It highlights gaps in use of and access to radiotherapy, and calls on all stakeholders to act now to ensure radiotherapy is recognised as a key element of cancer care in national and European-level policies.

Radiotherapy is recommended as part of treatment for more than 50% of cancer patients, and is suitable to treat many common types of cancer. It is a relatively cost-effective treatment and causes minimal side effects or disruption to the patient’s life. Despite this, at least a quarter of people who need radiotherapy do not receive it.

Lydia Makaroff, Director of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), said: ‘Radiotherapy appears to be left on the sidelines of national health policy agendas. Greater investment, improved access and better understanding of radiotherapy – both at a national and international level – is vital. This will ensure that patients get the best possible and most effective care for their particular type of cancer, leading to better outcomes and more lives saved.’

The white paper sets out a five-point plan to close the current gaps in utilisation of radiotherapy across Europe.

HPP will continue to work with the Marie Curie Legacy Campaign to promote radiotherapy in Europe, including a policy forum at the European Parliament on 31 January 2019.

For more information, please visit the Marie Curie Legacy Campaign website.