We are laying the foundations for a better future for UK cancer care

We are laying the foundations for a better future for UK cancer care

The past year has thrown unprecedented challenges to UK cancer care as a whole. With a cancer backlog in the millions for both diagnosis and treatment, recovering the lost ground against cancer due to the effects of the pandemic will take years and many patients will experience more advanced cancers as a result. The race is already on to get ahead of the cancer backlog. The NHS and the independent sector have been working hand in hand to improve access and provision to vital treatments and services.

To deal with the surge in late-stage cancers we are already seeing, there is a need to bring advanced cancer treatments such as proton beam therapy to the forefront of this recovery effort. Rutherford Health, as the UK’s leading provider of proton beam therapy services, has been playing a critical role in expanding access to proton treatment to patients both to PMI patients and private payers.

In recent months we have seen a significant increase in demand for advanced treatments from anxious patients who have been affected by pandemic restrictions. To keep up with this demand and to ensure that the UK has the capabilities required to deliver the most advanced cancer therapies for cancer patients for the long-term, Rutherford Health has also been at the forefront of training medical professionals across the UK in advanced cancer therapies and especially in proton beam therapy.

The surge in demand for advanced treatment has led to oncologists seeking training to be able to administer treatments such as proton beam therapy, a treatment which is now widely expected to be a key part of the UK’s arsenal against cancer.

Our proton beam therapy training programme, which was launched three years ago to train oncologists in protons, has seen unprecedented demand. Since launching the programme in collaboration with IBA Worldwide and Penn Medicine, over 35 oncologists have become certified in proton therapy. A further 20 oncologists have been enrolled onto the programme for the next two months alone and we are expected to see full capacity for the programme in the months after that too, demonstrating the spike in demand.

The training programme involves oncologists spending time in our centres and participating in the creation of treatment plans. These programmes are vital for advancing cancer care in the UK and giving patients access to the best treatment options. Having NHS oncologists trained in the most advanced therapies will also make it easier for the UK to adopt newer and more advanced medical technologies in the future as we seek to turn the tide against cancer.

In less than three years, Rutherford Health has completely altered the landscape in UK cancer care with the introduction of proton beam therapy. We have three fully operational centres offering the treatment with a fourth coming soon. We now hope to emulate this success with our oncologist training programme to take the UK to the next level when it comes to precision radiotherapy.

By Mike Moran, chief executive officer, Rutherford Health.

Image Credit - The Roberts Proton Therapy Center at Penn Medicine