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Volume 12, Number 1, 2007

Patterns of care for brachytherapy in Europe (PC BE) in Spain and Poland: Comparative results

Ferran Guedea, Montse Ventura, Alfredo Polo, Janusz Skowronek, Julian Malicki, Wojciech Bulski, Grzegorz Zwierzchowski, Jose López Torrecilla, Pedro Bilbao, Josep Maria Borràs


Background Cancer incidence and its mortality depend on a number of factors, including age, socio-economic status and geographic situation, and its incidence is growing around the world. Cancer incidence in Europe is now about 4000 patients per million per year and due to the ageing population a yearly increase of 1–1.5% in cancer cases is estimated in the next two decades. Most of the cancer treatments will include external beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy.
Brachytherapy has increased its use as a radical or palliative treatment and become more sophisticated with the spread of pulsed dose rate and high dose rate afterloading machines, and the use of new planning systems has additionally improved quality of treatment Aim The aim of the present study was to compare two countries (Poland and Spain)and to report the differences in the use of brachytherapy in these countries. For this reason, several characteristics related to brachytherapy were compared.
Materials/Methods The data used were collected using a website questionnaire for the year 2002 where every centre that participated in the survey could introduce, change or update the information requested. Hospitals included in the study were those that provided data on brachytherapy, because our objective was to compare the brachytherapy facilities between Poland and Spain.
Results Data were available for 22 centres in Poland and 39 centres in Spain that provided brachytherapy in 2002. Spain having more centres that applied brachytherapy (1.0 centre per 1,000,000 inhabitants in Spain vs. 0.6 centre per 1,000,000 inhabitants in Poland), the average number of brachytherapy patients per centre is lower in Spain than in Poland, 137 and 382 respectively. The 5 main tumour sites treated with brachytherapy in Poland were: gynaecological (73.7%), bronchus (13.0%), breast (2.8%), prostate (2.4%) and head and neck (1.6%). In Spain they were: gynaecological (59.7%), breast (15.4%), prostate (12.8%), head and neck (4.2%) and bronchus (1.5%). Statistically signifi cant differences were found in the number of gynaecological, bronchial and breast brachytherapy patients between the countries.
Conclusions Although both countries belong to the European Union, there were observed several differences in the use of brachytherapy. We also found some differences in the brachytherapy techniques used in prostate and head and neck cancers.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2007; 12(1) : 39-45


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