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Are there enough radiation oncologists to lead the new Spanish radiotherapy?

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Radiation oncology services in Spain are undergoing a process of technical modernization, but—in a context of increasing demand by an ageing population—it is unclear whether there are enough radiation oncologists to staff the newly equipped units. This study aims to assess the number of specialists working in radiation oncology services in Spain relative to current and future needs.

Materials and methods

In the second half of 2017, the Commission on Infrastructures of the Spanish Society for Radiation Oncology (SEOR) sent a questionnaire on radiation oncology staff to the heads of all 122 public (n = 76, 62%) and private (n = 46, 38%) radiation oncology services in Spain. Data collected were the number of professionals, their position, and their year of birth for specialists and residents in each service. In the descriptive analysis, for continuous variables we calculated means, standard deviations and ranges for each Spanish region and work post. For qualitative variables, we constructed frequency tables. All analyses were performed with R statistical software, version 3.5.1.


The survey response rate was 100% among service heads across all 122 centers. The total number of radiation oncologists working in these centers is 721, or 15.4 per million population, with considerable variations between regions. Given the national recommendations to have 20 radiation oncologists per million population, there is currently a deficit of 204 specialists. If the 163 upcoming retirements are also taken into account, there will be 367 fewer radiation oncologists than required to meet the 25% increase in indications for radiotherapy projected for 2025.


The classic model for calculating staff needs based on the number of treatments is outdated, and recommendations should be revised to reflect the current reality. A new model should integrate the most complex technological advances and emerging plans in radiotherapy, without neglecting the other activities carried out in radiation oncology services that are not directly linked to patient care.

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On behalf of the Spanish Society of Oncology and Radiotherapy (SEOR) Analysis Group: Dra Mª José Ortiz del Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio (Sevilla). Dr José Expósito del Hospital Universitario Virgen de las Nieves (Granada). Dra Amalia Palacios del Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía (Córdoba). Dr Ismael Herruzo del Hospital Regional Universitario Carlos Haya (Málaga). Dr José Antonio Medina del Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Victoria (Málaga). Dr Miguel Martinez del Complejo Hospitalario de Jaén (Jaén). Dra Eloisa Bayo del Hospital Juan Ramón Jiménez (Huelva) y Hospital Virgen Macarena (Sevilla). Dr Javier Jaén del Hospital Puerta del Mar (Cádiz). Dr Francisco José Peracaula del Hospital Punta Europa (Cádiz). Dra Carolina Pérez del Complejo Hospitalario Torrecárdenas (Almería). Dra Mª Isabel Ramos de Clínica Infanta Luisa (Sevilla). Dr José Antonio González del Instituto Oncológico Cartuja (Sevilla). Dr José Begara de Clínica Xanit Limonar (Málaga). Dra Cristina Nuño de Clínica Xanit Benalmádena (Málaga). Dra Ana Belén Bezares de Clínica Radón Algeciras (Cádiz). Dra Ana Serradilla de Clínica Radón Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz). Dr Antonio Lazo de Oncosur San Juan de Dios (Córdoba). Dr Martin Tejedor del Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet (Zaragoza). Dra Lucía Méndez del IMOMA (Oviedo). Dr Germán Juan de la Fundación Hospital de Jove (Asturias). Dr Luis Olay del Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias. Dr José Pardo del Hospital Universitario Son Espases (Palma de Mallorca). Dr Alberto Noé del Hospital Can Misses (Ibiza). Dr Francisco Mestre de Policlínica Miramar (Palma de Mallorca). Dr Claudio Otón del Hospital Universitario de Canarias (Tenerife). Dr Claudio Fuentes del Hospital Universitario Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Tenerife). Dr Pedro Prada del Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla (Santander). Dr Leopoldo Pérez de Clínica Mompía (Santander). Dra Eva Lozano del Hospital General de Ciudad Real. Dra Mª Victoria Villas del Complejo Hospitalario Universitario (Albacete). Dra Juana Tripero del Grupo GenesisCare (Guadalajara). Dra Rosabel Lobo del Grupo GenesisCare (Toledo). Dr Manuel Muñoz del Grupo GenesisCare (Toledo). Dr José Luis Tisaire del Hospital Universitario de Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz). Dr Jesús Fernández del IVO (Cuenca). Dra Mercedes Teijeira del Hospital Universitario (Burgos). Dr José Reyes Rodríguez del Complejo Asistencial de León. Dr Luis Pérez-Romasanta del Hospital Clínico Universitario (Salamanca). Dr Francisco López del Hospital Clínico Universitario (Valladolid). Dr Daniel Rodríguez del Hospital Clínico Universitario (Valladolid). Dra Amelia Ceballos del Complejo Asistencial de Zamora. Dra Rocío Cantalapiedra del Hospital Campo Grande (Valladolid). Dr Albert Biete del Hospital Clinic Universitario (Barcelona). Dr Jordi Craven del Hospital de la Creu i Sant Pau y Clínica Corachan (Barcelona). Dr Agustí Pedro del Hospital PLATÓ (Barcelona). Dr Jordi Giralt del Hospital Valle-Hebrón (Barcelona). Dr Ferrán Guedea del Hospital Duran i Reinals ICO (Barcelona). Dr Salvador Villá del Hospital de Badalona (Barcelona). Dr Josep M Solé del Hospital General de Cataluña (Barcelona). Dra Arantxa Eraso del Hospital Universitario de Gerona. Dr José Antonio Carceller del Hospital Universitario Arnau Vilanova (Lérida). Dr Benjamín Guix del IMOR (Barcelona). Dr Ramón Miralbell del centro Médico Teknon (Barcelona). Dr Joan Casals del Hospital Quirón (Barcelona). Dr Pedro González del Hospital de Mérida (Badajoz). Dra Mª Isabel Duarte del Hospital Virgen del Puerto (Cáceres). Dr Juan Pablo Jerez de la Clínica San Miguel (Cáceres). Dr Alfonso Mariño del Centro Oncológico de Galicia (La Coruña). Dr Antonio Gómez-Caamaño del Hospital Universitario de Santiago de Compostela (La Coruña). Dr Victor Muñoz del Hospital do Mexoeiro de Vigo (Pontevedra). Dra Mª Dolores López del Complejo Hospitalario de Orense. Dr Luis Zugazabeitia de POVISA Vigo (Pontevedra). Dra Laura Torrado-Moya del Hospital Universitario de Lugo. Dr Gustavo Ossola del Hospital de San Pedro (Logroño). Dra Rosa Mª Morera del Hospital Universitario de la Paz (Madrid). Dra Mª Teresa Murillo del Hospital Universitario de la Princesa (Madrid). Dra Sonsoles Sancho del Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal (Madrid). Dr José Pérez-Regadera del Hospital Universitario Doce de Octubre (Madrid). Dr Miguel Angel Lozano del Hospital Universitario Gregorio Marañón (Madrid). Dr Gonzalo Vázquez del Hospital Clínico San Carlos (Madrid). Dra Escarlata López de la Fundación Jiménez Díaz (Madrid). Dra Cristina de la Fuente del Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro (Madrid). Dra Pilar Samper del Hospital Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid). Dra Blanca Ludeña del Hospital Universitario de Fuenlabrada (Madrid). Dr Juan de Dios Sáez del Hospital Central de la Defensa Gómez-Ulla (Madrid). Dr Ignacio Azinovic del Grupo Génesis Care. Dra Carmen Rubio del CIOCC (Madrid). Dra Elia del Cerro del Hospital Quirón (Madrid). Dra Natalia Carballo del MD Anderson (Madrid). Dra Amalia Sotoca-Ruiz del Hospital Ruber Internacional. Dr Ramón García del Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca (Murcia). Dr Juan Salinas del Hospital General Universitario de Cartagena (Murcia). Dra Adriana Fondevilla del Instituto Oncológico del Sudeste (Murcia). Dr Rafael Martínez-Monge de la Clínica Universitaria de Navarra (Pamplona). Dr Enrique Martinez del Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra (Pamplona). Dr Avelino Alia del Hospital de Txagorritxu (Vitoria). Dr Juan Pablo Ciria del Hospital Universitario de Donostia (San Sebastián). Dr Jesús Rosa del Instituto Oncológico de San Sebastián. Dr Pedro Bilbao del Hospital Universitario de Cruces (Bilbao). Dr Juan Carlos Martín del Hospital Universitario de Basurto (Bilbao). Dr Francisco Casquero del Hospital Quirón (Bilbao). Dr Leo Arribas del Instituto Valenciano de Oncología (Valencia). Dr Alejandro Tormo del Hospital Universitario de la Fe (Valencia). Dr Eduardo Ferrer del Hospital Clínico (Valencia). Dr Luis Larrea de la Clínica Virgen del Consuelo (Valencia). Dr Miguel Soler del Hospital Universitario de la Ribera (Valencia). Dr Enrique García del Hospital Universitario de Elche (Alicante). Dr Pablo Soler del Hospital IMED Elche (Alicante). Dr Manuel Santos del Hospital de Benidorm (Alicante). Dr Gabriel Vázquez del Hospital Universitario San Juan (Alicante). Dra Rosa Mª Cañón del Hospital Quirón Torrevieja (Alicante). Dr Antonio Miró del Hospital Vithas Perpetuo Socorro (Alicante).

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The members of the The Spanish Society of Oncology and Radiotherapy (SEOR) Analysis Group were listed in the Acknowledgements section.

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Rodríguez, A., Arenas, M., Lara, P.C. et al. Are there enough radiation oncologists to lead the new Spanish radiotherapy?. Clin Transl Oncol 21, 1663–1672 (2019).

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