The Lancet Oncology: Radiotherapy critical to improving global cancer care

In the September issue of The Lancet Oncology, a team of international experts released data indicating expanding access to radiotherapy is a worth while investment in low income countries. Many of these experts are involved in the International Cancer Expert Corps efforts to reduce mortality and improve the quality of life for people in low- and middle income countries and regions worldwide. Read the summary of The Lancet Oncology article, “Expanding Global Access To Radiotherapy“.


Call to improve radiotherapy access around world


David Jaffrey, an ICEC Advisory Board member, co-lead this initiative with GTFRCC. The original article below is courtesy of BBC News on September 26th, 2015 and can be viewed here.

Data compiled by a team of international experts to expand global access to radiotherapy will be presented in Vienna at the European Cancer Congress. Radiotherapy is an important element of comprehensive cancer treatment and care for many common cancers, and is essential for effective treatment. Unfortunately, the majority of people in low-income countries have no access to much needed radiotherapy treatment.  Research indicates increasing the accessibility of radiotherapy treatment is possible and a highly cost-effective investment.

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Global Challenges in Radiation Oncology

In the United States, much of the research is focused on developing new and very expensive technologies and drugs – often without a major therapeutic benefit. In resource limited countries, basic oncology care is frequently lacking. In addition, the benefits of various chemo-radiotherapy combinations for a number of malignancies are unknown as these populations have not been adequately investigated.

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Consortium of Universities for Global Health, Annual Meeting

March 26 to March 28

Boston,  MA United States

Center for Global Health, National Cancer Institute, Annual Meeting

March 25th, 2015

Boston,  MA United States

The International Cancer Expert Corps: a unique approach for sustainable cancer care in low and lower-middle income countries

The growing burden of non-communicable diseases including cancer in low- and lower middle income countries (LMICs) and in geographic-access limited settings within resource-rich countries requires effective and sustainable solutions.The International Cancer Expert Corps (ICEC) is pioneering a novel global mentorship–partnership model to address workforce capability and capacity within cancer disparities regions built on the requirement for local investment in personnel and infrastructure. Radiation oncology will be a key component given its efficacy for cure even for the advanced stages of disease often encountered and for palliation. The goal for an ICEC Center within these health disparities settings is to develop and retain a high-quality sustainable workforce who can provide the best possible cancer care, conduct research, and become a regional center of excellence. The ICEC Center can also serve as a focal point for economic, social, and healthcare system improvement. ICEC is establishing teams of Experts with expertise to mentor in the broad range of subjects required to establish and sustain cancer care programs. The Hubs are cancer centers or other groups and professional societies in resource-rich settings that will comprise the global infrastructure coordinated by ICEC Central. A transformational tenet of ICEC is that altruistic, human-service activity should be an integral part of a healthcare career.To achieve a critical mass of mentors ICEC is working with three groups: academia, private practice, and senior mentors/retirees. While in-kind support will be important, ICEC seeks support for the career time dedicated to this activity through grants, government support, industry, and philanthropy. Providing care for people with cancer in LMICs has been a recalcitrant problem. The alarming increase in the global burden of cancer in LMICs underscores the urgency and makes this an opportune time fornovel and sustainable solutions to transform cancer care globally.

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Cancer Health Disparities: Transforming Science, Service, and Society.

Describes the underpinning of the ICEC approach to transforming global health and healthcare careers. Includes unique opportunities for the sectors of: healthcare, implementation science, technology, economics and research.

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Addressing cancer disparities among American Indians through innovative technologies and patient navigation: the walking forward experience

Frontiers in Oncology

Describes a pioneering program for bringing cancer care and research to American Indians

This is the basis of our internationalizing the efforts to reach “First Nations” and related populations in resource-rich countries.

First author Daniel Petereit, member ICEC Board of Directors.

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A commentary on medical student perspective for global health care in radiation oncology: opportunities, barriers to sustainability and future directions

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 89:492-4, 2014

Written by a medical student working at NIH helping with ICEC, it describes the gap in opportunity facing students interested in altruistic service.
[This is a PDF proof- attaching the published version not yet permitted]

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NCIS hosted the annual International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Advanced Training Course


NCIS hosted the annual International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Advanced Training Course on 3D Image-Guided Brachytherapy (IGBT) for cervical cancer from 23 to 27 Mar 2015.

This intensive five day course  was attended by 29 participants from 14 countries across Asia. The faculty was both local and international. We had several speakers from NCIS, including Dr Choo Bok Ai, Dr Lee Khai Mun, Dr Vicky Koh and Ms Tan Poh Wee. Two international experts, Dr Umesh from Tata Memorial Hospital, India as well as Ms Sylvia from Peter Mac, Australia, were also invited to share their experience and expertise. Besides didactic lectures, participants were given ample time for interactive “hands-on” sessions, where our local physicists could give personalized attention to the participants, and impart some “tips” and “tricks” on brachytherapy planning.

This course is offered as part of the Regional Cooperative Agreement among IAEA member states to improve technical cooperation and education in our region. As the host institution for Singapore, we were privileged to have to opportunity to share our knowledge and interact with our fellow specialists in this specialized field. 3D Image-Guided Brachytherapy is relatively new and is a more accurate way of delivering radiation treatment compared to 2D brachytherapy. It is especially important when high doses of radiation are given with curative intent, such as in the treatment of cervical cancer. However, this treatment is resource-intensive and requires significant training and education of the entire medical team involved. We hope that this course has been of some value for our colleagues looking to adopt this treatment strategy.

These are what some of the participants had to say about their IAEA 2015 experience:

“Please extend our thanks to your colleagues for all the hospitality and for efforts to make us participants feel comfortable. Congratulations on a successful workshop!”Ms Lilian

“Thank you very much for the nice arrangement and hospitality. We really had a fruitful and interesting training course.” – Mr Enkhtsetseg Vanchinbazar, Physicist, Mongolia