Local MP shines a light on radiotherapy, the unsung hero of cancer treatment
Grahame Morris, MP for Easington met with NHS providers and patients at a briefing held in Parliament to learn about radiotherapy and the benefits it can bring to cancer patients. Radiotherapy is a cost-effective and cutting-edge treatment that forms a core part of the health care regime for many cancer patients. Last year, more than 130,000 people with cancer in England had radiotherapy as part of their treatment.
More than a third of NHS providers were represented at the event which was hosted by Tim Farron MP in partnership with AdvaMed, the United States Advanced Medical Technology Association. It included speeches from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, Steve Brine MP and eminent radiotherapy clinicians: Professor Neil Burnet, Professor in Radiation Oncology, Cambridge University Hospitals; Professor Ricky Sharma, Chair of Radiation Oncology, UCL; Professor Andrew Nisbet, Head of Medical Physics, Royal Surrey County Hospital and Dr Alison Tree, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
NHS bodies across the UK have invested money to modernise radiotherapy equipment:
- 23 NHS trusts in England have received new or upgraded radiotherapy machines; a further 50 new machines will be installed as part of NHS England’s £130 million investment.
- The UK Government has invested £250 million to build two proton beam therapy centres in England. A third proton beam therapy centre is due to open in Wales.
- The Scottish Government regularly invests in the latest radiotherapy equipment and recently committed a further £50m for new radiotherapy machines, software and additional staff training over the next five years.
Although radiotherapy technology has rapidly advanced and investment has been made in replacing outdated machines throughout the UK, there is still variation in patient access across the country. Awareness of radiotherapy as a highly effective cancer treatment is also low compared to another common option, chemotherapy. Patients should be provided with comprehensive information on the benefits of radiotherapy and its potential role in their treatment program, as well as given access to the latest technology.
Josh Levine, Chair of AdvaMed’s Radiation Therapy Sector and President and CEO, Accuray, said: “I’m delighted that Grahame Morris was able to join us in Westminster for this event. AdvaMed is committed to working in the UK and on a broader, global scale to expand patient access to radiotherapy. We look forward to future engagement with parliamentarians and NHS providers to ensure that for patients in the UK, this goal becomes a reality.”
Grahame Morris said, “I know from experience that Radiotherapy is an integral part of cancer care for many cancer patients. Recent investment in new machines for the NHS is welcome, however further investment is essential to address the demand for this life-changing treatment.”