Rutherford Health transforms UK cancer care with proton beam therapy

Rutherford Health transforms UK cancer care with proton beam therapy

The publication of our landmark report on proton beam therapy confirmed the transformative role Rutherford Cancer Centres have played in transforming cancer care in the UK through the development of state-of-the-art proton beam therapy facilities. The report has particular significance given the role proton beam therapy can play in reducing the cancer backlog.

The report – titled ‘Breaking Cancer Barriers: Proton Beam Therapy in the UK’ is based on in-depth research and analysis including by oncologists and Rutherford Health’s technology and clinical partners, and documents the rise in demand for the treatment from patients, increasing investment by governments and healthcare providers, the rise in the number of oncologists being trained in the delivery of proton beam therapy and an increase in the number of medical insurance companies willing to support patients’ treatment financially.

It is the first report of its kind addressing the UK’s remarkable progress in the provision of proton beam therapy having historically lagged behind the rest of Europe and North America when it comes to provision and accessibility.

The role of Rutherford Health’s network of advanced proton beam therapy facilities has been central to the UK closing the gap when it comes to proton therapy provision. Our network represents the lion’s share of proton therapy capacity in the UK and our highly successful oncologist training programme has led to the UK benefiting from an ‘innovation dividend’ through the creation of a better skilled healthcare workforce which also includes radiographers and physicists.

What’s more, the Rutherford Cancer Centres are at the forefront of particle therapy and precision radiotherapy research, working with some of the world’s top academic institutions and advanced medical technology providers. Thanks to these efforts the UK is now a key contributor to thought leadership on proton beam therapy globally.

These strides in advanced cancer care is particularly important in the context of Covid-19 and the cancer backlog. The effects of the pandemic on cancer care is now a major healthcare emergency in its own right and requires a substantial effort to prevent a catastrophe in the coming years in the form of alarming rises in cancer deaths.

Delayed treatment and diagnosis are resulting in thousands of people coming forward with advanced cancers which are harder to treat and come with heightened risks of side effects. The risk of additional waves of upward stage migrations in people’s cancers is still with us and arguably growing and the knock-on effects of this on our healthcare system will be significant. Proton beam therapy, due to its ability to reduce side effects and the chances of recurrence, is therefore an essential treatment tool for us to deal with this backlog and prevent our cancer care services from being completely overwhelmed in the coming years.

By working collaboratively with public and independent healthcare providers, we can make advanced cancer therapies such as proton beam therapy more accessible to those who need them. This is one of our best paths out of the cancer backlog.

By Mike Moran, chief executive officer, Rutherford Health.

Breaking Cancer Barriers: Proton Beam Therapy in the UK