Radiotherapy access in low and middle income countries

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Published: 8 Dec 2015
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Dr Mary Gospodarowicz -Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Dr Gospodarowicz talks to ecancertv at AORTIC 2015 about the task force that has been established to improve access to radiotherapy in low and middle income countries.

She says that currently the focus in Africa has been on tobacco control, vaccination, and palliative care because their health sysems are ill equipped to adequately treat cancer, especially with radiotherapy.

There are thirty countries in Africa that have no access to radiotherapy at all, and even those who do have so few facilities that two year waiting lists are common, she says.

For the amount of work involved in obtaining facilities, training, and implementation, she says 20 years is a realistic timeframe.

Radiotherapy is important because it can be used to extend surival when used optimally.

She argues that certain measures, such as improving efficiency, can help reduce the running costs of equipment, and that although the initial outlay of funds is significant, it will pay off in the long run.

Governments and international organisations should work together to meet these goals, she says, and there is an important role for mentoring and e-learning.