Implementation of advanced radiotherapy technology to improve clinical outcomes in rural NSW

Dilli Banjade, Julaine Allan, Kandeepan Thuraisingam, Ajeet Mishra, Ben Newham, Shiaw Juen Tan, Amy Renshaw, Rodney Hammond, Graham Stevens, George Warr

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    PROBLEM: Availability of advanced radiotherapy technology to treat cancer is limited in regional Australia. At Central West Cancer Care Centre, the utilisation rate of intensity-modulated radiotherapy and volumetric modulated arc therapy was significantly lower compared to other NSW public health services. Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy treatment was not available at Central West Cancer Care Centre.

    DESIGN: To increase the intensity-modulated radiotherapy/volumetric modulated arc therapy utilisation rate and to make stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy treatment available through quality improvement projects with multi-disciplinary collaboration.

    SETTING: Central West Cancer Care Centre is part of Western NSW Local health District. Central West Cancer Care Centre has two linear accelerators for delivering intensity-modulated radiotherapy, volumetric modulated arc therapy and stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy treatments, and a computed tomography simulator with 4D computed tomography capability.

    KEY MEASURES FOR IMPROVEMENT: Intensity-modulated radiotherapy/volumetric modulated arc therapy utilisation rate increases to > 65% Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy available to Central West Cancer Care Centre patients 

    STRATEGY FOR CHANGE: A multi-disciplinary active of team radiation oncologists, medical physics specialists and radiation therapists developed an implementation plan for each treatment technique.

    EFFECT OF CHANGE: There was a significant increase in use of advanced techniques. The impact on patients included the following: Fewer side effects and improved control of disease as the advanced techniques directed the dose to the tumour and reduced the radiation dose to organ at risk. Treatment completed sooner than conventional radiotherapy, as the required dose required fewer trips to the hospital. Rural and remote patients were not required to travel to a metropolitan centre to have stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy treatment.

    LESSONS LEARNT: Strong commitment from a trained team and a collaborative approach is important for the implementation of advanced technology in regional centres.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)311-316
    Number of pages6
    JournalThe Australian journal of rural health
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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