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Oncology Professional Care 2024
21-22 May at ExCeL London

Oncology Professional Care is the must-attend, multi-disciplinary event delivering free CPD-certified learning for the entire oncology community.

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18 Mar 2024

Radiotherapy UK and the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign

Radiotherapy UK is the only charity in the country advocating specifically for this lifesaving, cost-effective, curative treatment, the patients that receive it, and the workforce that delivers it. The charity is also an official partner for this year’s Oncology Professional Care conference for Healthcare professionals, where the team will be available on their stand and presenting in the Rad Chat Radiotherapy Theatre.

The relentless efforts of the #CatchUpWithCancer campaign, co-founded by the charity in 2020, recently saw the campaign petition hit the half a million signatures milestone, thanks to the backing of broadcaster and author, Stephen Fry. It was a huge moment for the charity, which began the campaign with the Russell family after they lost their daughter, Kelly, to bowel cancer at the age of 31. Kelly’s treatment was delayed because of the pandemic, but sadly, little has changed in recent years.

UK cancer crisis

At present, NHSE statistics show that around 4 in 10 patients are waiting too long for cancer treatment. People with cancer should be treated within 62 days of a referral for suspected cancer, yet this key target has not been met for many years, even before the pandemic. The UK is lagging around 10 to 15 years behind comparable countries when it comes to cancer, according to a recent article in The Lancet Oncology.

There are also some deeply concerning statistics around individual treatments. In countries with higher survival rates, around 53% of patients receive radiotherapy, while in the UK, just 24-27% access it.

It’s the charity’s Catch Up With Cancer campaign that keeps this dire situation in the spotlight, but equally important is their work in creating patient resources. At present, the team are working hard behind the scenes to create a hub of resources to help patients and families understand the full treatment journey through radiotherapy.

10-year Vision for World-class radiotherapy

As these resources are developed, Radiotherapy UK will continue to advocate for change at the highest level. Recently, the charity was the proud facilitator of a new 10-year Vision for Radiotherapy, created for the radiotherapy community and designed to guide government decision makers who seek to improve cancer services across all four nations.

The Vision, named World-class Radiotherapy in the UK: Right Patient, Right Treatment, Right Time, was co-authored by Sarah Quinlan, director of Radiotherapy UK, Tim Cooper, and Dr Katie Wakeham. It has also been endorsed by Bryan Robson OBE, the former England campaigner who underwent radiotherapy for throat cancer in 2012.

Mr Robson said: “Radiotherapy saved my life. It’s given me the priceless gift of time and memories with my friends and family. I strongly believe every UK cancer patient that needs radiotherapy should have access to a world-class service.”

Read the Vision here

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