The Global Coalition for Radiotherapy (GCR) took part in London Global Cancer Week and presented on the topic of “Integrating Radiotherapy into Cancer Control Plans.” On 14 November 2023, radiotherapy experts from all over the world convened to hear from renowned speakers and discuss ways to prioritize strategies to improve the availability of this vital treatment.
This was the first time GCR had hosted an in-person meeting since its founding in 2020. Therese Linde, Global Affairs Director at Elekta and member of the GCR Senior Leadership team, kicked off the event by reflecting on the initial desire for collaboration, “There are so many things that we could improve by working together, so let's try to take it on. And that's, of course, centralized around radiotherapy and there's so much need out there, and we can at least try to do something by trying to find ways of collaborating across disciplines, across sectors, across borders.”
Richard Sullivan: WHO Emergency Committee Member; Director, Institute of Cancer Policy and Co-Director of the Centre for Conflict & Health Research, Kings College London; Chairman of eCancer Trustees
Professor Sullivan spoke on countries in crisis and the value of accessible cancer care.
“Designing and implementing essential packages of cancer care is probably one of the most critical things we're going to need to change over the decade. And that is very specific for individual countries and even within countries.”
Lisa Stevens: Director of Division of Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT); 24 years with National Cancer Institute (NCI); Deputy Director of the Center for Global Health; co-founder of International Cancer Control Partnerships
Dr. Stevens discussed the importance of including radiotherapy in cancer treatment plans. She outlined the work IAEA Pact and Rays of Hope do to bring specific partner countries radiotherapy and imaging access, delivered in a safe and secure manner.
“Our hope and our desire is that a country will take these expert recommendations and link them to a national cancer control plan and also link them to a strategic funding document.”
Pat Price: Chair of Radiotherapy UK; co-founder of Global Coalition for Radiotherapy; Visiting Professor for Imperial College London; co-founder #CatchUpWithCancer; renowned researcher and author
Professor Price explained the work that the GCR is doing to outline the essential components of radiotherapy in national cancer plans, and the launch of this resource as a pilot in the UK Vision document with Radiotherapy UK.
“So start of all, we knew that many cancer plans were outdated. As radiotherapy is needed in about 50% to 60% of cancer patients, and in 40% of cures, we absolutely need it there.”
She introduced the panel of experts who discussed education, quality assurance and safety, advocacy and collaboration, and prioritizing radiotherapy access in Africa.
Michelle Leech: Trinity St James Cancer Institute
“The variation of quality and education is immense…it can range from very high quality degree programs, to people who essentially come from school and start treating patients. Radiation Oncology professionals are experts, need expert education… and [we need to be] putting the resources into that.”
Mary Coffey: Trinity College
“You can have as many plans as you like, you can have as much data, but unless you implement that plan accurately, you will not protect that patient and you may not cure them and you may do them a great deal of harm.”
Sarah Quinlan: Radiotherapy UK
"We need to be really smart about how we advocate. And I think that whenever I think about the keyword that I've heard lots about today is collaboration. It's about people coming together to advocate, and that's what makes us stronger.”
Caroline Leksell Cooke: Elekta
“When I think about access from an industry perspective, I very much think about the best access for everyone, and it’s about the equity angle. And I think if we can give as an industry the best access to more than 50% of those that needs therapy, that's a huge goal in itself.“
Adesi Kof Kyei: University of Ghana
“There is the need to open up access for our people in Africa... There is an enormous need to scale up the availability of radiotherapy in Africa with consideration for the population distribution and disparities in the treatment accessibilities.”
Janaki Vidanapathirana: Sri Lanka Ministry of Health
"There are certain things [that] have been implemented... the establishment of a system, quality assurance, quality care program for the diagnosis therapy, as well as the nuclear medicine facilities to improve the quality of diagnosis and treatment services. In addition to that, establishing technical capacities for a comprehensive occupational exposure control and to ensure the safety of workers in the cancer field."
After an engaging panel discussion, the audience participated in a Q&A session with the experts. The GCR's early goals for global collaboration are being realized as this community works together towards practical solutions. Professor Price concluded that, “we need to take this responsibility. Life is very precious, and we need to help people out there, so, a lot more to do.”
Integrating radiotherapy in cancer plans is an ongoing, collaborative effort and we invite you to review our newly launched webpage with the Radiotherapy essentials documents that the GCR community has come together to develop. Be a part of this discussion and give your feedback on these important documents.
RT ESSENTIAL STANDARDS
Review the 5 key component working documents and submit your feedback.
watch THE RECORDING
On-demand recording of the livestream.
REVIEW THE SLIDE DECKS FROM THE PRESENTATIONS
This slide deck includes presentations from the meeting, and can be downloaded here:
Sponsors and collaborating partners
The GCR would like to thank the co-hosts, Radiotherapy UK, sponsor, Elekta, and other partners, CRDF Global, Sustained Dialogue on Peaceful Uses, IAEA Pact, Rays of Hope, King's College London, Institute of Cancer Policy, Centre for Cancer, Society, and Public Health, ecancer and London Global Cancer Week for supporting this event.