The National Cancer Plan (NCP) provided the incentives needed to establish a technical infrastructure adequate to meet the medical needs of radiotherapy in cancer care. The goal of this study is to evaluate the development of radiotherapy in South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (S-E NRHA) and to compare it with the aims of NCP.
The material includes the 86,000 courses of radiotherapy performed in S-E NRHA in the period 1985-2008. The data were extracted from existing patient registries and include cancer diagnosis and patient demographic information. The number of treatment series is coupled with cancer incidence of each county and that in S-E NRHA.
During the latter half of the 1980s, radiotherapy was only offered to 50 % (range 30-60 % in the various counties) of those who needed it. The situation had improved in 2007, when this figure was close to 80 %, but there was still a significant discrepancy between counties (67-91 %). With respect to the medical needs, 10 000 additional courses of radiotherapy should have been performed in S-E NRHA in the period 2003-2007.
The demonstrated insufficient use of radiotherapy and the geographical differences between counties are not acceptable. A prerequisite for optimal use of radiotherapy in cancer treatment is that the medical professions strengthen their oncological competence.