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Radiotherapy planning


Clinical oncologists in the UK must have the competencies required to deliver radiotherapy that matches the quality standards and technical advances delivered by radiation oncologists around the world.  

To prepare for this there is a need to address issues of job planning and ensure professional engagement and competency of both existing consultants and trainees in the newer ‘advanced’ radiotherapy techniques.

We have outlined the changes that will be needed in clinical oncology working practices in a position paper and will be developing a strategy to support Fellows and members through this period of change.

In summary:

  • Advanced radiotherapy techniques (IMRT, IGRT, should now be considered a routine practice standard) and 4D Adaptive Therapy, SABR and Protons will become more widely available in the next few years.
  • Clinical oncologists should be competent to match standards of world-class radiotherapy across all areas of site specialist practice.
  • Quality standards in target volume delineation have been shown to translate into improved outcomes for patients.
  • Job planning guidance requires defined allocated time for radiotherapy planning - but in many cases this is not being implemented.
  • Our recent survey suggested that for advanced radiotherapy, a mean planning time of 70 minutes per case and 120 minutes for more complex cases (paediatric cancers/GI/sarcoma/head and neck) was required.
  • Academic development and clinical trial entry will demand high quality standards of technical radiotherapy.
  • A wide range of courses and learning opportunities are available but we need to develop a strategy for clinical oncologists and employing trusts to meet the challenge of higher standards.

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