Evohealth / Shining a light: Radiotherapy cancer treatment in Australia
Evohealth White Paper

The burden of cancer in Australia

In Australia, there is one new cancer diagnosis every four minutes. Australia spends over $10 billion per year diagnosing and treating cancer. For patients, navigating the cancer clinical pathway can be confusing, complex, and stressful.

The role of radiotherapy in cancer treatment

Radiotherapy is an effective treatment for many cancers, however, up to 20 per cent of cancer patients who should receive radiotherapy do not. Alarmingly, up to 62 per cent of prostate cancer patients and 48 per cent of lung cancer patients do not receive radiotherapy which is considered best practice. This has resulted in avoidable morbidity and mortality

Contemporary radiotherapy is cost-effective for healthcare providers and convenient and safe for patients. So why are we not meeting utilisation targets?

This white paper highlights the most significant obstacles to accessing radiotherapy cancer care in Australia including access, awareness, and financial burden; and provides three evidence-based recommendations to improve utilisation of radiotherapy and health outcomes for Australians living with cancer.

The following three recommendations have been designed to be simple to implement within the existing policy frameworks of the Australian healthcare system.

Establish geographic nodes to ensure equitable access to best practice RT treatment for all Australians

The regional nodes will coordinate patient care, ensure access to an established MDT for their region and bring together existing programs and services in a targeted way that enables optimal care pathways inclusive of RT.

Ensure all patients and clinicians are aware of the benefits and impact of modern RT treatment through targeted campaigns

Develop a targeted campaign and messages aimed at empowering consumers by helping them understand the clinical and quality of life benefits of contemporary RT treatment.

Develop a primary care education package focused on developing awareness and understanding of contemporary RT practice.

Support a national directory of travel and accommodation for those needing to travel for cancer treatment.

The service will include available services provided in each state and territory and provide guidance on eligibility.

Beardmore, R, MacNamara, C, Rizvi, F and Hillen JB. Shining a light: Radiotherapy cancer treatment in Australia. Evohealth. 2022.
Renae Beardmore

Managing Director, Evohealth

Claire MacNamara

Senior Advisor, Evohealth

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