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IAEA Helps Build Capacity in Pediatric Oncology at the Children’s Hospital Teletón de Oncología

A regional course[1] on appropriate clinical applications of diagnostic imaging and therapy with radionuclides in pediatrics has been held at the Children's Hospital Teletón de Oncología (HITO) in Querétaro, Mexico, from 24 to 28 April 2017. The course, designed for nuclear medicine physicians and referring physicians, emphasized strategic actions to strengthen diagnostic capabilities and an integrated approach to cancer treatment. Chaired by Dr. Lourdes Vega Vega, General Director of HITO, and Dr. Enrique Estrada Lobato, Technical Officer at the IAEA, the course brought together national and international experts in pediatric nuclear medicine and molecular imaging to share tools and experiences from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The course was attended by 60 health professionals, including oncology surgeons, clinical oncologists, nuclear and molecular imaging physicians, radiologists, pathologists and transplant specialists. The course presented all the facets of cancer management, as well as the network of professionals who are involved in the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of pediatric oncology patients.

Technological advances were also highlighted during the course, such as, hybrid imaging, magnetic resonance imaging and diagnostic X-rays, the production of new and better radiopharmaceuticals, and the scientific analysis of evidence-based medicine.

Timely diagnosis and effective communication with referring physicians, diagnostic nuclear medicine and molecular imaging specialists are crucial in order to comply with the principles of treatment justification and optimization.During the course, it was  emphasized that it is important to have the necessary equipment and adequate infrastructure in place to ensure the best care for pediatric patients. In addition, ensuring comfortable conditions of care for pediatric patients will mean that their stay in the health centre is more pleasant and less invasive.