Radiotherapy treatment is an inseparable part of cancer care. A new study has revealed that as many as 90% of the people in low income countries lack access to radiotherapy treatment.
Study co-author Timothy Hanna from Queen's University in Kingston, Canada, said, "Radiotherapy is a crucial and inseparable part of cancer care. Globally, there is a major shortfall in access to radiotherapy. Our report found that expanding radiotherapy access in low and middle-income countries would not only save millions of lives, but also result in substantial economic benefits to nations."
The researchers developed a method to measure the treatment benefits of guideline-based radiotherapy programs. They found that globally in 2012, with optimal radiotherapy access, more than 580,000 people would derive a survival benefit from radiotherapy. By 2035, projections suggest substantial increases, with over 950,000 people being able to derive a survival benefit from global access to radiotherapy.
The research team estimated that optimal radiotherapy access in low and middle-income countries by 2035 could save an estimated 26.9 million life years for patients who currently lack access to care.
The report projected that improving access to radiotherapy in low and middle-income countries could be achieved by 2035 with an investment of $184 billion. The study said, "Despite this high estimated cost, the predicted net economic benefits reaped from the lives saved could reach between $278 billion and $365 billion."
The study is published in Lancet Oncology.