War in Ukraine: Critical issues that could impact future use of radiation therapy

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Published: 13 Mar 2023
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Prof Richard Sullivan, Dr Ruslan Zelinskyi, Prof Pat Price and Darien Laird

The invasion by Russia of Ukraine on the 24th February 2022 has created a massive humanitarian crisis for Ukraine and Europe generating huge challenges for cancer and palliative care. As of the 1st May some 12-13 million Ukrainian citizens were still trapped in active conflict zones, nearly 8 million had become internally displaced, mostly to the West, and nearly 6 million had left to become refugees.

In support of the WHO Ukraine Cancer Emergency Response and the ECO-ASCO Special Network: Impact of the War in Ukraine on Cancer ecancer has commissioned a special set of interviews with some of the key actors in the cancer humanitarian response both within and outside Ukraine.

This second set of interviews serve both as sources of on-the-ground experience and as living witness and testament to the extraordinary work of doctors, patient organisations, professional groups and UN agencies such as WHO in their efforts to adapt to the many challenges.


Prof Richard Sullivan (Kings College London, London, UK) speaks to Dr Ruslan Zelinskyi, Prof Pat Price and Darien Laird in a discussion on the current issues in Ukraine and the critical issues that could impact future use of radiation therapy.

Dr Ruslan Zelinskyi (Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists, Spizhenko Clinic, Kyiv, Ukraine) speaks on the impact the war in Ukraine has on radiation therapy. The recent power outages in Ukraine have had a massive impact on providing medical treatment so they have adapted to having backup generators in the event of an attack.

Dr Zelinskyi continues by discussing the capacity challenges in Ukraine.

Prof Pat Price (Imperial College London, London, UK) looks at the critical issues that could impact future treatment.

Darien Laird (Global Coalition for Radiotherapy, Geneva, Switzerland) continues the conversation by discussing the data collection that the GCR is collecting from Ukraine and the neighbouring countries to gather knowledge on patients.

You can read more about the Special Network here and here.