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Volume 10, Number 4, 2005

The state of Hungarian radiotherapy

József Erfán, Judit Olajos, Szabolcs Bellyei, Róbert Farkas, Gábor Liposits, Olga Ésik


Background Hungary suffers from one of the highest levels of cancer morbidity, with over 700 new cases per 100000 inhabitants per year. This situation necessitates, among others, investigation of the current state of radiotherapeutic care, and its infrastructural and staffing conditions.
Aim The aim of this paper is to present the current state of Hungarian radiotherapy.
Results Although the number of radiation treatments increased substantially between 1995 and 2003 (16544 vs. 26316), together with a considerable increase in the linear accelerator equivalent (LAE) value (15.9 vs 29.45), about one-third of the patients who would profit from radiotherapy do not receive this form of treatment. Radiotherapeutic care is provided at 13 centers in 7 geographical regions, with widely varying infrastructural and staffing conditions, characterized by a mean LAE value of 4.2 (range: 0–8.45), a 1 LAE value for a mean of 343500 inhabitants (range: 0–731500), and a mean annual workload of 353 patients per radiation oncologist (range: 255–424), 532 patients per physicist (range: 255–911) and 149 per radiation technologist (range: 71–300). These conditions result in a waiting list of between 0 and 42 days for non-emergency cases and a mean of 260 radiotherapy-treated patients per 100000 inhabitants (range: 111–434) in the different geographical regions, which is far below the expected Hungarian value of 403 radiotherapy-treated cases/year.
Conclusions Attainment of an adequate radiotherapeutic service with an acceptable waiting time throughout Hungary requires the creation of 2 additional centers and the reconstruction of 1 existing center, the provision of 9 new linacs, the replacement of 10 functioning telecobalt units with linacs, and increases of 54% in the number of radiation oncologists, 51% in the number of physicists and 65% in the number of radiation technologists.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2005; 10(4) : 209-216


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