NHSE rolls out stereotactic radiotherapy

Thursday 11 June 2020

The RCR has welcomed today’s announcement from NHS England (NHSE) that stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) will be rolled out to all English cancer centres by April next year.

Currently around half of English centres are able to provide SABR, which is a highly targeted modern type of radiotherapy that requires fewer sessions of treatment than conventional methods.

NHSE has said that from April 2021 all centres will offer SABR for patients with lung cancer, lymph nodes and non-spine bone oligometastatic disease. NHSE will then look to approve SABR to be used in other types of cancer during the course of 2021-22.

RCR President Dr Jeanette Dickson said:

“There is now lots of evidence supporting SABR as a precise radiotherapy treatment that can improve survival, as well as patient experience by being delivered over a few days, rather than weeks. The RCR, along with the wider cancer care community, has been calling for wider roll-out for some time.

“We are extremely pleased NHSE recognises the benefits of making this advanced technique easily accessible to all patients via every cancer centre in the country, especially as it has been more readily adopted nearby, in the devolved nations. We will also be working with the UK SABR Consortium to support cancer teams to implement its safe roll-out as quickly as possible.” 

NHSE has also highlighted how local centres have provided innovative and mobile types of chemotherapy treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic via “chemo buses” and home appointments.

Commenting further, Dr Dickson added:

“We are grateful NHSE has recognised the novel means developed by cancer centres to continue therapy for vulnerable patients at the height of the pandemic, as well as supporting an expansion of chemotherapy capacity to ensure patients are cared for in 'covid-protected' areas.”