Radiotherapy

Department of Health written question – answered on 16th December 2014.

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Photo of Liz Kendall Liz Kendall Shadow Minister (Health) (Care and Older People)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what proportion of cancer patients currently have access to (a) intensity modulated, (b) image-guided and (c) stereotactic radiotherapy.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The proportion of cancer patients receiving Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) is not routinely reported. However, as of September 2014, 36% of radical treatment was performed using inverse planned IMRT. The number of IMRT episodes is expected to rise from just over 8,500 per year in 2012-13 to a projected figure of over 25,000 for 2014-15.

Image Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) refers to the use of imaging during the delivery of radiotherapy treatment and is considered to be an integral part of the radiotherapy course and not a separate element. The current coding structure supporting radiotherapy activity does not allow for the separate identification of IGRT. It is therefore not possible to identify a specific proportion of cancer patients that undergo IGRT.

NHS England commissions stereotactic radiotherapy (SABR) as an option in the treatment of patients with non-small cell lung cancer not suitable for surgery. Since April 2014 there has been an activity code for SABR, which is recorded on the national radiotherapy dataset. However, as this is a new code this year, it is not yet universally used by providers at present. It is therefore not possible to identify a specific proportion of cancer patients that undergo SABR.

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