A report has highlighted the current gap in the utilization of radiotherapy for cancer patients in Europe and outlined a 5 point action plan that may close the gap.1 The paper was commissioned by the Marie Curie Legacy Campaign, which is an initiative of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) and the ESTRO Cancer Foundation. 

Currently, radiotherapy is recommended for more than half of patients with cancer but a quarter of patients who need radiotherapy as part of their treatment do not receive it. The reasons for the underutilization of radiotherapy include lack of inclusion in health policy agendas, high-quality equipment, and trained personnel.

The authors drafted a 5 point action plan aims to close this gap.

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In order to close the gap, the authors suggest 5 points of action. For one, the report authors indicate that governments and policy makers must “make radiotherapy a central component of cancer care in policies, planning and budgets.” Second, professional societies working with European Union-level and national decision-makers are asked to “achieve recognition of all radiotherapy professions and harmonise education and training standards across Europe.” Third, European Union and national research and innovation funds and the research community are asked to “invest in research and use of data to continuously improve radiotherapy outcomes for patients and maximise the potential of innovation.” Fourth, multidisciplinary cancer care teams are asked to “fully integrate radiotherapy into treatment planning and decision-making.” The final action point asks patient groups, media, and other stakeholders to “help improve general understanding of radiotherapy to ensure it can achieve its full potential for patient care.”

“We call on all stakeholders, with policymakers at the helm, to help position radiotherapy appropriately within cancer policies and models of care – for the benefit of cancer patients today and tomorrow,” the report authors concluded.


  1. Kazmierska J, Jornet Sala N, Leech M, Jereczek-Fossa BA, Lievens Y, Yarnold J. Radiotherapy: seizing the opportunity in cancer care. https://mariecurielegacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Radiotherapy_seizing_the_opportunity_in_cancer_care.pdf. Published November 2018. Accessed November 12, 2018.