Information for Health Professionals - Radiation Oncology

Information specifically for Health Professionals

Page last updated: 22 February 2016

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring cancer patients have access to high quality and affordable cancer treatment, regardless of their location or financial means. Approximately 40% of cancer cures are attributed to radiotherapy1, or radiation therapy. There is evidence from an overview of the published literature that 48.3% of patients with cancer would benefit from radiotherapy at some stage during the course of their illness.2

Although radiation therapy is largely used for the treatment of malignant disease, it also has a major role in the management of benign intracranial lesions, such as pituitary tumours, meningiomas, arteriovenous malformations, acoustic neuromas and the trigeminal ganglion for trigeminal neuralgia. It also has a small role in other benign conditions – usually in conjunction with surgery – including keloid scars, pterygia, heterotopic ossification and thyroid orbitopathy.’

Radiation oncology services (including radiation therapy) are supported by the Australian Government through Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) rebates, safety net benefits for patients and funding for radiation oncology treatment equipment. The Australian Government Department of Health provides national leadership in ensuring access to radiation therapy that is affordable, safe and delivered with the latest technology through the:

States and territory governments are responsible for the provision and delivery of radiation therapy services. As such, there are a range of private and public radiation therapy providers in each state and territory. A list of treatment facilities located in each state and territory can be found on the Radiation Oncology and Radiotherapy Services web page. Additional information about radiation therapy services including accommodation, travel schemes and treatment options can also be found on this page.

If you have any specific questions about the Australian Government’s commitment to radiation therapy services or are unable to access the links, please email Radiation Oncology Inbox.

Other relevant information

Radiation Oncology Careers

About the Australian Government’s contribution to building a world-class cancer care system through qualified professionals.

Radiation Oncology Inquiry

The Inquiry Committee, chaired by Professor Peter Baume, was set up in 2001 to examine radiation therapy for cancer in Australia to develop a national plan to promote patient access to these services. Further information is available at: Radiation Oncology Inquiry

For information about Medicare eligibility, claims and services please contact:
Patients telephone 132011
Providers telephone 132150
Email Australian Government Department of Human Services
Web site Australian Government Department of Human Services
Other web site MBS Online

Australian Clinical Dosimetry Service (ACDS)

In June 2010, the Commonwealth funded the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for establishment of a national dosimetry service on a trial basis. The operational phase commenced in January 2011. During the trial, services have been provided free of charge to radiation oncology facilities that volunteer to participate in an audit.

The ACDS audits facilities and equipment to check that patients receive the correct radiation dose.

ACDS operates from within the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), which is the Australian Government’s primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety.

In late 2012, the Department engaged KPMG to evaluate the ACDS trial, and provide advice on options for an ongoing national dosimetry audit service into the future. A copy of this report can be accessed on the Department of Health website.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) – Radiation Therapy Waiting Time Report

In 2009, in recognition of an information gap in the collection and reporting of nationally comparable data on radiotherapy waiting times the Radiation Therapy Waiting Time report was funded through the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC).

The report is the result of data contributions from public (i.e. State and Territory) and private (i.e. radiotherapy facility) providers across Australia. The report’s official name is Radiotherapy in Australia: Report on a pilot data collection 2013-14. It is the first national report on radiotherapy services and waiting times in Australia. A copy of the report can be accessed from the AIHW website.

1 Radiation Oncology Tripartite Committee, Planning for the best: Tripartite National Strategic Plan for Radiation Oncology 2012-22
2 Review of Optimal Radiotherapy Utilisation Rates, Barton et al. 2013