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Technical cooperation helps to fight cancer

The IAEA’s technical cooperation (TC) programme is the main mechanism through which the IAEA delivers capacity building services to its Member States, in areas as diverse as environmental management, industrial applications and human health. A large portion of the IAEA’s TC activities in human health focus on helping Member States fight cancer. Using nuclear technology such as radiotherapy and other nuclear medicine, many cancer types can be treated and thousands of cancer deaths can be avoided.

Through the TC programme, the IAEA works to increase capabilities in developing countries to use nuclear technology for cancer diagnosis, treatment and palliation by building human resource capacities and supporting nuclear medicine through training, equipment provision and expert services. The TC programme facilitates the sharing of technologies, knowledge and experience in cancer control among governments and health professionals. TC projects, in collaboration with the IAEA’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), also help government authorities to develop comprehensive cancer control strategies. Other projects focus on the establishment of quality assurance (QA) programmes for cancer treatment and support safety at work.

In 2011, improvements in the quality of services and an increase in the number of patients treated were achieved in many hospitals receiving IAEA assistance. TC projects supported the purchase of state-of-the art equipment, including linear accelerators, high dose rate brachytherapy units and cobalt-60 machines, for hospitals in Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Czech Republic. In addition, the TC programme helped to establish a radiotherapy centre in Azerbaijan, supported the introduction of the first nuclear medicine facility in Burkina Faso, and helped to upgrade radiotherapy facilities in Mongolia.

Through TC projects, the IAEA continues to work towards increasing the knowledge and skills of radiation oncologists, medical physicists and radiotherapists to improve and provide access to cancer treatment even in the most remote areas of the world. TC training courses, fellowships and scientific visits, as well as the provision of equipment, help countries to increase their capability to offer effective cancer care for their patients.

Responsible/Contact: Department of Technical Cooperation | Last update: 10 Apr, 2015

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