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In this report on the second pilot year collection of national radiotherapy data, data were received from 66 out of 74 service locations across Australia. These services contributed information on over 56,400 courses of radiotherapy delivered in 2014–15. For non-emergency treatment, 50% of patients started treatment within 10 days and 90% started within 28 days. For those who needed emergency treatment, 91% began treatment within the emergency timeframe.
58% of radiotherapy was curative (50% started treatment within 14 days, 90% started treatment within 33 days)
Breast and prostate cancers were the most common cancers—50% of these patients started treatment within 10 days
50% of patients received treatment within 10 days, and 90% received treatment within 28 days
2% of courses were emergency (where treatment should begin within 24 hours). Most of these cases were palliative
Radiotherapy uses radiation directed at a localised area to kill or damage cancer cells. It is a well-established, effective and safe way to treat cancer and a small number of other conditions. It can be used to treat conditions (curative intent), to prevent them (prophylactic), or to manage or lessen their symptoms (palliative).
courses of radiotherapy began in 2014–15
7 in 10
radiotherapy courses (71%) were delivered in the public sector and 3 in 10 were delivered in the private sector
of radiotherapy courses were delivered with the intention of curing disease, 38% were palliative and 2.7% were preventative (prophylactic)
4 in 5
emergency courses (which required treatment within 24 hours) were for palliative care (80%). Emergency courses made up 2.1% of all radiotherapy courses
Younger patients are more likely to be treated with curative intent than older patients, and the older a patient is, the more likely they are to be treated with palliative intent.
2.1% of radiotherapy courses were emergency cases, where the patient should receive treatment within 24 hours. The majority of emergency cases were for palliative care. The majority of non-emergency cases were aimed at curing disease.
The 2014–15 collection included data about waiting times for treatment. Waiting times are measured from when the patient is 'ready for care' to the beginning of the course of treatment.
More information about how waiting times are measured is available in Radiotherapy in Australia: report on the second year of a pilot collection, 2014–15.
was the time within which 50% of patients started radiotherapy; 90% started within 28 days; 10% waited longer than this
was the time within which 50% of patients receiving radiotherapy with the intention to cure disease started radiotherapy; 90% started within 33 days; 10% waited longer than this
was the time within which 50% of patients receiving radiotherapy with the intention of palliation started radiotherapy; 90% started within 19 days; 10% waited longer than this
9 in 10
patients (91%) who received emergency radiotherapy started treatment the same day or the next day
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