UK Cancer Treatment Waiting Times and the Impact of the AI-Powered Tool

1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. More than 14 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year. Radiotherapy provides a practical solution to combat this problem. Since 1985, radiotherapy has been changing the lives of cancer patients worldwide. Radiotherapy has the potential to improve the rates of cure of 3.5 million people and provide palliative relief for an additional 3.5 million people. In the UK, it is estimated that 40.6% of cancer patients will receive radiotherapy.

Brief overview of cancer in the UK

In the UK the incidence and effects of cancer make for some particularly stark reading. There are around 367,000 new cancer cases in the UK every year, and every two minutes a person is diagnosed with cancer in the UK. There are over 166,000 cancer-related deaths in the UK each year, 450 cancer-related deaths a day, and one cancer death every 4 minutes.

In-depth investigation on cancer waiting times in the UK

Due to the high number of cancer diagnosis in the UK, the waiting times directly affect the lives of many. NHS cancer waiting times can take up to 2 months (62 days) from the date the hospital receives an urgent referral for suspected cancer and the start of treatment. A recent study, conducted in the UK, using systematic reviews and meta analysis between 2000-2020, found that the association between delay and increased mortality was significant. Every month of delay in cancer treatment raised a patient’s risk of death by 6-13%. With data like this, the need for rapid cancer treatment is more important than ever.

How COVID 19 transformed cancer treatment

At the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, many cancer screenings were put
on hold. Cancer Research UK estimates that around 3 million people were waiting for cancer screenings by September 2020, and around 9,200 fewer patients started cancer treatment after a referral from the screening programmes in England between April 2020 and March 2021. Furthermore, far fewer patients were urgently referred with suspected cancer symptoms. Taking into account this drastic waiting period for cancer screenings, a process that speeds up the cancer treatment process is crucial.

Factors that influence cancer care

There are many amazing companies and charities supporting breast cancer research. One of the UK’s leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Now, disclosed that the Alll-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer (APPGBC), launched an inquiry into geographical inequalities in breast cancer services across England. The APPGBC uncovered the level of postcode lottery (the unequal provision of services such as healthcare, education and insurance prices depending on geographic area or postcode) in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and care in England. With the varying availability of cancer care by location in the UK, the need for timely, accessible and standardised cancer treatment is ever more pressing.

Advancements in radiotherapy treatment with MVision AI

Radiotherapy can be a time-consuming process for hospitals globally. A recent study evaluated the accuracy and efficiency gain of a commercial deep learning-based auto segmentation (AST) tool for computed tomography (CT), with prostate cancer patients. MVision AI’s fully automated commercially available 3D DL model, was assessed for accuracy and efficiency gain for CT-based auto contouring for prostate cancer RTP. The key finding from the evaluation was that, compared to MC, the mean time saved using the AST was 12 min for the whole data set (46%) and 12 min for the lymph node CTV (60%), respectively. The comparison of manual and AI automated models revealed that using a general DL-based AST for CT images saves time and improves consistency.

Average manual contouring time (MC bar), automated and edited contouring time (automated and edited contouring (AEC) with dashed line), time saved (filled bar) and range (error bars) in minutes for prostate, bladder, seminal vesicles, rectum, left and right femoral heads and penile bulb, by Kiljunen, Timo, et al.



With various factors contributing to the long waiting times in the UK, ever growing due to COVID 19, and geographical inequalities in medical care, the need for a solution is more important than ever. Fortunately, there is an AI solution that understands the importance of  improving the quality of life of cancer patients – during & after treatment. MVision AI follows consensus guidelines, helps to speed up radiotherapy treatment, and improves accuracy. Since 2019, MVision has been facilitating hospitals in providing same-day treatment. This has made a practical difference for hospitals throughout Europe. 

MVision AI has partnered with Xiel, a specialist distributor of medical technologies in the UK and Ireland, working with global leading solution providers, and continuously improving efficiency and quality for our customers. Now customers in the UK can more easily access efficient, timely, top-of-the-line, and guideline-compliant radiotherapy treatment. 

If you are interested in learning more about MVision’s AI segmentation please contact our UK & Ireland distributor Xiel Ltd, check out Xiel’s informative, company website and professional LinkedIn profile.

For further details regarding Xiel Ltd:

2 Yelling Mill, Yelling Mill Lane, Shepton Mallet, BA4 4JT

Tel: 01749 372217


To stay up-to-date on the latest news and information, follow us on LinkedIn.

For more information on our services, contact MVision AI:

c/o Terkko Health Hub, Haartmaninkatu 4, 00290 Helsinki, Finland.

Tel: +358 (0) 40 5489 229


Fore media inquiries:

+358 40 500 7915;


“Cancer Statistics for the UK.” Cancer Research UK, 28 Jan. 2021, 

“Cancer Statistics.” National Cancer Institute,

“Cancer Waiting Times.” Cancer Waiting Times | Cancer Information | Cancer Research UK, 6 Jan. 2020, 

Gianfaldoni, Serena, et al. “An Overview on Radiotherapy: From Its History to Its Current Applications in Dermatology.” Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, ID Design 2012/DOOEL Skopje, 18 July 2017, 

Hanna, Timothy P, et al. “Mortality Due to Cancer Treatment Delay: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The BMJ, British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 4 Nov. 2020, 

Jaffray, David A, and Mary K Gospodarowicz. “Radiation Therapy for Cancer.” Cancer: Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition (Volume 3)., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Nov. 2015, 

Kiljunen, Timo, et al. “A Deep Learning-Based Automated CT Segmentation of Prostate Cancer Anatomy for Radiation Therapy Planning-A Retrospective Multicenter Study.” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 17 Nov. 2020, 

“New Report Exposes Scale of Postcode Lottery in Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment and Care across England.” Breast Cancer Now, 8 Sept. 2019, 

Roberts, Katie. “One Year on: How Has COVID-19 Affected Cancer Services? – Cancer Research UK – Cancer News.” Cancer Research UK – Science Blog, 17 May 2021, 

Roberts, Katie. “What’s Happened to Cancer Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic? – Cancer Research UK – Cancer News.” Cancer Research UK – Science Blog, 12 Apr. 2021, 

Round, CE, et al. “Radiotherapy Demand and Activity in England 2006-2020.” Clinical Oncology (Royal College of Radiologists (Great Britain)), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 

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