Today sees the launch of The Year of Radiotherapy, an initiative to raise awareness of radiotherapy as a cost-effective, cutting-edge treatment that can help cure cancer. According to figures published by Cancer Research UK, only 1 in 10 people know that radiotherapy helps cure 40% of cancer patients. A report from the national charity estimates that only 38% of cancer patients in England are getting radiotherapy, although research shows that up to 50% might benefit.
Julie Mead, Clinical Director of Oncology Systems Limited (OSL), the largest independent provider of radiotherapy equipment and software in the UK, has 20 years clinical and teaching experience in radiotherapy. She said: "We need to dispel the myths about radiotherapy and associated side effects and make people more aware of the benefits of the latest treatments, but we also need to make sure that these treatments are available across the country.
"The UK lags behind America and Europe in introducing the new, more targeted radiotherapy technology that is available. Rather than update and reinvest in technology that's essentially been around for the last 40 or so years, it's time we made sure that every cancer patient in the UK has access to the best treatment."
Earlier this month, Professor Sir Mike Richards launched OSL's latest TomoTherapy installation at Nottingham City Hospital. He said: "There's no doubt that our survival rates have risen and our treatment has improved almost beyond recognition. Our aim is to match the best in the world. With the TomoTherapy machine there will be treatments that people from the East Midlands and beyond will be able to access for the first time. I'm sure people from other trusts will come here to look for ideas for future treatment."
OSL is the UK and Ireland's exclusive distributor of the helical TomoTherapy treatment machine, which provides unprecedented precise, targeted, image guided intensity modulated radiotherapy. There are more than 300 installations of the machine worldwide, but just six hospitals using the technology in the UK.