Three-month waiting list for radiotherapy


Cancer patients needing radiotherapy treatment must wait up to three months for treatment at Attica’s public hospitals due to understaffing, doctors say, noting that lives could be saved with the hiring of just 25 technicians.

The Medical Association of Athens has decried the long waiting lists for cancer patients at public hospitals and called for radiotherapy departments to become fully operational in order to respond to demand.

At the moment a total of 46 radiotherapy machines are in operation at Greek hospitals – 29 in the public sector and 17 in the private sector.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation recently donated 12 linear accelerators (which deliver high-energy x-rays or electrons to the region of the tumor) to the Greek state health system. But more needs to be done to cut waiting lists.

According to Giorgos Pissakas, president of the Hellenic Society of Radiotherapeutic Oncology, patients must wait between two-and-a-half and three months to start radiotherapy treatment at an Attica state hospital.

That delay is “unacceptable,” particularly for brain and cervical cancers, he said.

Over the past two years, there have been hirings, Pissakas said, but they have been to radiology departments, not radiotherapy. An additional 25 technicians could solve the problem, he said.