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Government invests £15m in advanced radiotherapy

More than 8,000 additional cancer patients a year are set to benefit from the rollout of advanced radiotherapy thanks to a £15m government investment.

The new Cancer Radiotherapy Innovation Fund aims to expand the NHS' capacity to deliver life-saving advanced radiotherapy techniques to patients by April 2013, with the £15m investment speeding up the use of Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT).

Designated radiotherapy centres will be encouraged to bid for funding to adopt the IMRT technique safely and at the right levels.

The move comes DH research shows the great majority of the 50 radiotherapy treatment centres across England are not using the IMRT technique for all the patients for whom it is clinically appropriate and who would benefit.

“We want to make sure that cancer services in England are world class and that NHS patients receive the best quality treatments that are available,” said Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

"For too long our cancer survival rates have lagged behind other comparable countries. We have already committed to improving survival rates, saving an additional 5,000 lives per year. In addition, we want to make sure that cancer survivors have as good a quality of life as possible, minimising possible side effects.

"Radiotherapy is one of the most clinically and cost-effective treatments for cancer and this funding will bring our additional investment in radiotherapy over the Spending Review period to £165 million.”