Adapting to the future of children’s radiotherapy – help us to design services fit for the future

In the past few years we have seen huge advancements in children’s cancer treatment, and more children are surviving than ever before. In addition to conventional radiotherapy, proton beam therapy (PBT) is established as a safe and effective treatment for many children’s cancers, particularly as it offers an advantage in minimising tissue damage for tumours in sensitive areas of the body. The Christie Hospital in Manchester is the first NHS centre to offer high-energy PBT, and capacity will expand as PBT facilities open at University College London Hospital (UCLH) later this year. It’s really positive that more children will be treated with PBT, but conventional radiotherapy remains the best and most appropriate treatment option for some children, and we need to ensure continued access to high quality care to those who need it.

In order to keep abreast of improvements in treatment options our children’s cancer services must be fit for the future. Services will need to adapt as the way we can treat children’s cancers improves, as we have professionals trained in new technologies, and the right facilities and equipment, as part of a co-ordinated approach to care.

Our focus on children’s radiotherapy services in England will do this by drawing on the knowledge of expert doctors and medical staff and the insights of patients and their families. Early conversations are underway to understand the opportunities and challenges, and the potential solutions to making sure all children can access the care they need. We will continue to work with medical leaders and professional groups, and with the Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent, to understand the issues from all perspectives before we move forward with proposals for a future model of radiotherapy services for children.

We are holding a number of online sessions for both clinicians and professionals, and for charities, young people and their families, throughout March 2021 where we will be talking through the current situation and why a review is necessary – so please book a place to join the conversation.

Webinars with charities, young people and families

Thursday 11 March 2021 1.30pm to 2.30pm Booking link
Friday 19 March 2021 11am to 12pm Booking link
Thursday 25 March 2021 3pm to 4pm Booking link

Webinars with professionals and clinicians

Friday 12 March 2021 11am to 12pm Booking link
Thursday 18 March 2021 4pm to 5pm Booking link
Friday 26 March 2021 1.30pm to 2.30pm Booking link