Surveying the Challenges to Improve Linear Accelerator-based Radiation Therapy in Africa: a Unique Collaborative Platform of All 28 African Countries Offering Such Treatment

Radiation therapy is a critical component for curative and palliative treatment of cancer and is used in more than half of all patients with cancer. Yet there is a global shortage of access to this treatment, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, where there is a shortage of technical staff as well as equipment. Linear accelerators (LINACs) offer state-of-the-art treatment, but this technology is expensive to acquire, operate, and service, especially for low- and middle-income countries(LMICs), and often their harsh environment negatively affects the performance of LINACs, causing downtime.

A global initiative was launched in 2016 by ICEC and CERN to address the technology and system barriers to providing radiation therapy in LMICs through the development of a novel LINAC-based radiation therapy system designed for their challenging environments. As the LINAC prototype design phase progressed, it was recognized that additional information was needed from LMICs on the performance of LINAC components, on variables that may influence machine performance and their association, if any, with equipment downtime. Thus, a survey was developed to collect these data from all countries in Africa that have LINAC-based radiation therapy facilities. In order to understand the extent to which these performance factors are the same or different in high-income countries, facilities in Canada, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA were invited to participate in the survey, as was Jordan, a middle-income country. Throughout this process, LMIC representatives have provided input on technology challenges in their respective countries. Read more…

Emphasizing the critical importance of EXPERTISE

A Broad Impact for Global Oncology
JAMA Oncology, August 8, 2019. Co-authors from International Cancer Expert Corps

Emphasizing the critical importance of EXPERTISE, the article, “A Broad Impact for Global Oncology” available at the bottom of this post and online at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2747881, emphasizes the breadth of opportunities for global oncology. The critical need for mentorship is a driving force of ICEC with the creation of a career path being essential.  The breadth of expertise required- noted on the ICEC website- creates an opportunity for many participants in all stages of their careers.

Figure 1 from the paper includes all that can be accomplished, requiring global partnerships, innovative thinking and built up Expertise.

The paper concludes: “The size and complexity of the problems present a grand challenge worthy of the best minds and transformational approaches, often requiring partnerships that have the potential for common projects even among countries and neighbors who have political conflicts. How could one not want to eradicate cancer and its deleterious impact? The Figure provides the components and benefits of a systems approach that supports leading-edge science and technology but, critically, pays attention to those populations historically and currently left behind in the trailing-edge turbulence of inequality. In this way, creativity, innovation, altruism, and commitment can bring rewarding results.”

The critical need for mentorship is a driving force of ICEC with the creation of a career path being essential.  The breadth of expertise required- noted on the ICEC website- creates an opportunity for many participants in all stages of their careers.

A Broad Impact for Global Oncology

A Broad Impact for Global Oncology

Global oncology demands attention, with approximately 9 million people dying from cancer annually. It provides an extraordinary opportunity to address the urgent need for cancer care and be a catalyst for solutions to address critical societal issues including the disruptive forces in and among countries involving the health of individuals and the planet, relationships among cultures, the digital revolution, inequality, and the sociopolitical conflict of globalism vs isolationism.  Read the article published online in JAMA Oncology

50. Vision 2020: looking back and thinking forward on The Lancet Oncology Commissions.

Gospodarowicz MK, Jaffray DA, Knaul FM. Vision 2020: looking back and thinking forward on The Lancet Oncology Commissions. Lancet Oncol. 2020 Sep;21(9):1144-1146. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30481-2. PMID: 32888451; PMCID: PMC7462593.

49. Global Radiotherapy: Current Status and Future Directions-White Paper

Abdel-Wahab M, Gondhowiardjo SS, Rosa AA, Lievens Y, El-Haj N, Polo Rubio JA, Prajogi GB, Helgadottir H, Zubizarreta E, Meghzifene A, Ashraf V, Hahn S, Williams T, Gospodarowicz M. Global Radiotherapy: Current Status and Future Directions-White Paper. JCO Glob Oncol. 2021 Jun;7:827-842. doi: 10.1200/GO.21.00029. PMID: 34101482.

48. A blueprint for linking academic oncology and the community

Linggood R, Govern F, Coleman CN. A blueprint for linking academic oncology and the community. J Health Polit Policy Law. 1998 Dec;23(6):973-94. doi: 10.1215/03616878-23-6-973. PMID: 9866095.

47. A randomized trial to reduce smoking among American Indians in South Dakota: The walking forward study

Dignan MB, Jones K, Burhansstipanov L, Ahamed SI, Krebs LU, Williams D, Ahsan GMT, Addo I, Sargent M, Cina K, Crawford K, Thibeault D, Bordeaux S, Kanekar S, Petereit D. A randomized trial to reduce smoking among American Indians in South Dakota: The walking forward study. Contemp Clin Trials. 2019 Jun;81:28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2019.04.007. Epub 2019 Apr 13. PMID: 30986536; PMCID: PMC6608583.

46. Overcoming Challenges in Providing Radiation Therapy to Patients With Cancer in Nigeria and Experience in the National Hospital Abuja, Nigeria

Aruah SC, Asogwa OC, Ubah FI, Maurice NN, Oyesegun R, Ige TA, Coleman CN, Dosanjh M, Pistenmaa D. Overcoming Challenges in Providing Radiation Therapy to Patients With Cancer in Nigeria and Experience in the National Hospital Abuja, Nigeria. JCO Glob Oncol. 2020 Aug;6:1232-1236. doi: 10.1200/JGO.19.00177. PMID: 32755480; PMCID: PMC7456314.

45. Walking forward: the South Dakota Native American project

Petereit DG, Rogers D, Burhansstipanov L, Kaur J, Govern F, Howard SP, Osburn CH, Coleman CN, Fowler JF, Chappell R, Mehta MP. Walking forward: the South Dakota Native American project. J Cancer Educ. 2005 Spring;20(1 Suppl):65-70. doi: 10.1207/s15430154jce2001s_14. PMID: 15916524.

44. Navigation as an intervention to eliminate disparities in American Indian communities

Krebs LU, Burhansstipanov L, Watanabe-Galloway S, Pingatore NL, Petereit DG, Isham D. Navigation as an intervention to eliminate disparities in American Indian communities. Semin Oncol Nurs. 2013 May;29(2):118-27. doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2013.02.007. PMID: 23651681; PMCID: PMC4144398.

43. Findings from the native navigators and the Cancer Continuum (NNACC) study

Burhansstipanov L, Krebs LU, Dignan MB, Jones K, Harjo LD, Watanabe-Galloway S, Petereit DG, Pingatore NL, Isham D. Findings from the native navigators and the Cancer Continuum (NNACC) study. J Cancer Educ. 2014 Sep;29(3):420-7. doi: 10.1007/s13187-014-0694-y. PMID: 25053462; PMCID: PMC4144404.

42. Partnering for success through community-based participatory research in Indian country

Watanabe-Galloway S, Burhansstipanov L, Krebs LU, Harjo LD, Petereit DG, Pingatore NL, Isham D. Partnering for success through community-based participatory research in Indian country. J Cancer Educ. 2014 Sep;29(3):588-95. doi: 10.1007/s13187-014-0683-1. PMID: 25030416; PMCID: PMC4142145.