Estimating radiotherapy demands in South East Asia countries in 2025 and 2035 using evidence-based optimal radiotherapy fractions

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Background and purpose

As about 50% of cancer patients may require radiotherapy, the demand of radiotherapy as the main treatment to treat cancer is likely to rise due to rising cancer incidence. This study aims to quantify the radiotherapy demand in countries in Southeast Asia (SEA) in 2025 and 2035 using evidence-based optimal radiotherapy fractions.

Materials and methods

SEA country-specific cancer incidence by tumor site for 2015, 2025 and 2035 was extracted from the GLOBOCAN database. We utilized the optimal radiotherapy utilization rate model by Wong et al. (2016) to calculate the optimal number of fractions for all tumor sites in each SEA country. The available machines (LINAC & Co-60) were extracted from the IAEA's Directory of Radiotherapy Centres (DIRAC) from which the number of available fractions was calculated.


The incidence of cancers in SEA countries are expected to be 1.1 mil cases (2025) and 1.4 mil (2035) compared to 0.9 mil (2015). The number of radiotherapy fractions needed in 2025 and 2035 are 11.1 and 14.1 mil, respectively, compared to 7.6 mil in 2015. In 2015, the radiotherapy fulfillment rate (RFR; required fractions/available fractions) varied between countries with Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia are highest (RFR > 1.0 – available fractions > required fractions), whereas Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Vietnam have RFR < 0.5. RFR is correlated to GDP per capita (ρ = 0.73, P = 0.01). To allow RFR ≥1 in 2025 and 2035, another 866 and 1177 machines are required, respectively. The number are lower if longer running hours are implemented.


With the optimal number of radiotherapy fractions, estimation for number of machines required can be obtained which will guide acquisition of machines in SEA countries. RFR is low with access varied based on the economic status.

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