IAEA Confronts Europe´s Cancer Scourge
Delegates at the meeting in Vienna, Austria. (Photo credit: D. Calma/IAEA)
With the death toll from cancer claiming 1.7 million Europeans each year, Health Ministers and experts of leading oncology centers from 27 countries across the continent met at IAEA headquarters in Vienna this week to work together to combat the disease.
The IAEA has teamed up with European countries involved in its Technical Cooperation programme, The World Health Organization, professional societies and NGOs to improve cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Over the next three years the IAEA will roll out close to $24 million in funding for cancer projects on an expected cost-sharing basis with the governments involved. The projects range from improving nutrition to upgrading radiotherapy equipment and training staff to ensure cancer patients are treated safely.
Ten radiotherapy "Centres of Competence" are currently being established in Europe with IAEA support within the scope of national and regional Technical Cooperation projects. Each facility will be capable of treating several hundred patients per year at internationally accepted standards. Each centre will serve as a national model for improving radiotherapy in other institutions in the country. During the two-day meeting at the IAEA, seventeen additional European countries signalled their desire for a similar national facility.
Relying on more than 30 years of solid experience in providing radiotherapy to developing countries, and to help meet growing needs, the IAEA recently established PACT - Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy - to take radiotherapy to where it is most needed. PACT paves the way for the IAEA to seek and direct funds from individuals, charitable trusts, foundations and the public and private sectors to help patients in developing countries thoughout the world fight cancer effectively. (See Story Resources for details).