Survey finds public lack knowledge of radiotherapy

Fewer than one in ten people think radiotherapy is a modern cancer treatment according to the results of a survey published Friday.

"Like most people I didn’t really know a lot about radiotherapy before beginning my treatment. But my cancer experience changed that. I’ve learnt a lot about it and it’s something of an unsung hero. It’s vital in helping treat so many patients and deserves much better recognition."

Professor Tim Maughan, a Cancer Research UK funded researcher and consultant clinical oncologist based at the Velindre Hospital in Cardiff, said: "We hear a lot about chemotherapy and less about radiotherapy which actually has a better cure rate. But most people don’t realise that.

"A century after Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize for her work on radium we’ve seen radiotherapy develop into an incredible tool in treating cancer. It is more precise than ever and contributes to almost half of all cancer cures. Research in the UK has been instrumental in improving the treatment and it’s vital that progress is delivered to all patients.

"We must ensure that radiotherapy is properly funded to train more staff and to provide more equipment. If the public understands the value of radiotherapy we can keep up the focus on such an important treatment and help give patients the world class treatment they deserve."

Professor Mike Richards, the National Clinical Director for Cancer, said: "Radiotherapy is one of the key treatments for cancer. Improving access to, and uptake of radiotherapy will undoubtedly contribute to saving lives. Using modern radiotherapy we can target the cancer more accurately than ever before and so further increase cure rates and reduce side effects. ‘Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer’, the recently published national cancer strategy, clearly recognises the role of radiotherapy and commits additional funding."

Source: Cancer Research UK

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