New evidence based regimens and novel high precision technology have reinforced the important role of radiotherapy in the management of cancer. Current data estimate that more than 50% of all cancer patients would benefit from radiotherapy during the course of their disease. Within recent years, the radiotherapy community has become more than conscious of the ever-increasing necessity to come up with objective data to endorse the crucial role and position of radiation therapy within the rapidly changing global oncology landscape. In an era of ever expanding health care costs, proven safety and effectiveness is not sufficient anymore to obtain funding, objective data about cost and cost-effectiveness are nowadays additionally requested. It is in this context that ESTRO is launching the HERO-project (Health Economics in Radiation Oncology), with the overall aim to develop a knowledge base and a model for health economic evaluation of radiation treatments at the European level. To accomplish these objectives, the HERO project will address needs, accessibility, cost and cost-effectiveness of radiotherapy. The results will raise the profile of radiotherapy in the European cancer management context and help countries prioritizing radiotherapy as a highly cost-effective treatment strategy. This article describes the different steps and aims within the HERO-project, starting from evidence on the role of radiotherapy within the global oncology landscape and highlighting weaknesses that may undermine this position.
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