Rebecca Morton Doherty

Based in Geneva, Rebecca Morton Doherty is Senior Advocacy Manager for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) - a membership organisation that exists to help the global health community accelerate the fight against cancer. Rebecca coordinates UICC’s advocacy efforts in the non-communicable disease arena and across UICC’s key focus areas including access to multimodal cancer treatment and pain relief. She has a BA Honours degree in Political Sciences from the University of Warwick, and a Masters degree in Gender and Development from the London School of Economics. Rebecca has spent 10 years in the NGO sector, with a focus on advocacy and policy development in the global health, human rights and development fields.

Every family has a cancer story. If you have not had direct personal experience of cancer, the chances are that you know a loved one, a friend or a colleague who has. More than three million people in Europe are diagnosed with cancer every year, and 1.7 million cancer deaths are recorded annually. The death and illness caused by cancer exacts a heavy toll on individuals, communities and the economy. Finding smart ways to improve outcomes for all is essential. Cancer care has advanced dramatically in recent times but survival rates and outcomes still vary depending on where you live. This is because access to ‘multimodal care’ – including surgery, radiotherapy, medicines and palliative care – are excellent in some corners of Europe and dismal in others. This challenge is so urgent that The Lancet Oncology coordinated two Commissions to examine the economic case for stepping up investment in cancer surgery and access to radiotherapy, with an emphasis on the return on investment in terms of lives saved as well as economic benefits. Impact of radiotherapy Radiotherapy has come a long way in a relatively short time. The ability to reduce and destroy tumours with a targeted dose of radiation is a valuable element of cancer treatment. It is recommended for approximately 50% of new cancer patients. However, despite this, more than 90% of people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) lack access to radiotherapy. A report by the Lancet Oncology Commission ‘Expanding global access to radiotherapy’ estimates that by 2035 12 million patients per year in LMICs would benefit from radiotherapy. This life-saving technology requires investment and long-term thinking. A reasonable question for governments, hospitals and insurers is whether the investment is worth it. a report by the Global Taskforce on Radiotherapy for Cancer Control (GTFRCC) , written by...