Innovative program for palliative radiotherapy in Australia



  • Conflicts of interest: None.

Dr Tanya Holt, Southern Zone Radiation Oncology – Mater Centre, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Raymond Terrace, South Brisbane, Queensland 4010, Australia.


Radiotherapy plays a significant role in the palliation of symptoms in patients with cancer. It can improve symptoms from bone metastases, spinal cord compression, superior vena cava obstruction and cerebral metastases. Long waiting lists and inconvenient access prolong suffering and may even discourage patients from utilising this service. With this in mind, a Rapid Response Palliative Radiotherapy Clinic was established at the Mater Centre – Radiation Oncology Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. The study evaluates whether the clinic achieves its aim of providing timely and efficient palliative radiotherapy for oncology patients. Data were collected in the first 6 months of the clinic's operation and compared with data from palliative patients seen in other clinics at the same centre over the same period. Patients seen in the Rapid Response Clinic were more likely to have been treated within 24 h of being assessed, and were more likely to have received a single fraction treatment. The clinic fulfils the role of offering a timely and convenient radiation service for palliative patients and acts as a reference for other palliative radiotherapy services in Australia.