A NEW plan has been published to improve radiotherapy services for cancer patients.
The National Radiotherapy Plan for Scotland was welcomed by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf as he announced £1.5 million investment in specialised radiotherapy treatment, whilst visiting Aberdeen Cancer Centre.
The new Plan includes funding to increase the availability of Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), a precise form of high dose radiotherapy generally used on small, well-defined tumours, which requires fewer sessions. The treatment limits the impact on surrounding organs to minimise adverse side effects.
Other actions include ensuring radiologist input within regional multidisciplinary cancer teams.
Mr Yousaf said:
“Radiotherapy plays a key role in treating and curing cancer, with approximately half of all cancer patients expected to receive radiotherapy treatment. After surgery, radiotherapy is the next most effective form of cancer treatment and is given to 40% of all patients who are cured.”
“We are committed to providing a world class radiotherapy service for cancer patients, regardless of where they live. This National Radiotherapy Plan sets out 13 actions with a view to not only curing more cancers but also reducing side effects by increasing access to the most modern treatments.”
Dr John McLellan, Head of Radiotherapy Physics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary said:
“SABR provides so many patients with treatment options that were not technically feasible just a few years ago and the team here in Aberdeen has worked hard to provide this cutting-edge technique for patients across the North East.”
“We’re fortunate that consistent funding of radiotherapy equipment in Scotland has furnished our treatment centres with some of the most advanced equipment available. The funding being announced today will allow us to expand our SABR service in Aberdeen, meeting the challenges of ever more complex treatments and an ever increasing number of patients.”
The Plan is underpinned by ongoing investment as set out in the National Cancer Plan published last December, which includes £45 million for a procurement programme to ensure the most up-to-date radiotherapy equipment is available across Scotland’s cancer centres.
An investment of £1.2 million will be made to make SABR more readily available across all five cancer centres in Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. SABR will treat Oligometastatic Disease – when the cancer has only a few, usually small growths that have spread beyond its origin point.