18 February 2014
The World Cancer Report 2014, released on 3 February 2014 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, reveals that cancer accounted for an estimated 8.2 million deaths in 2012, with around 65% occurring in less developed regions.1 This figure is expected to continue rising, with an estimated 13 million deaths per year within the next two decades.2
With these figures in mind, it is no surprise that human health is a high priority for all IAEA Member States, with over 25% of the technical cooperation (TC) programme focusing on this field. Cancer-related projects account for a significant part of the percentage.
The IAEA’s TC programme has addressed cancer care for over 50 years and can provide assistance to Member States in many different areas, particularly in the area of radiotherapy, radiation oncology, quality assurance and radiation protection of workers, patients and the public. The TC programme delivers support through training, expert assistance, fellowships and the procurement of equipment and materials. Additionally, the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) seeks to realize the public health impact obtained through global partnerships in cancer control and technology transfer in radiation medicine. PACT's vision strives for global partnerships to confront the cancer crisis in developing countries, notably with the World Health Organization (WHO).
In Kenya, the availability of radiotherapy services is limited and unable to meet the country’s growing cancer care needs, with patients often waiting up to four months to receive treatment. Through the TC programme, the Kenyatta National Hospital radiotherapy centre has been upgraded and radiotherapy services have been expanded into a second hospital.
With the IAEA’s assistance a training programme was also developed to ensure the availability of trained staff who can provide radiotherapy and nuclear medicine services. The first students graduated recently and are the first radiation therapy technologists trained in Kenya. More information.
El Salvador has also received assistance from the IAEA’s TC programme, and has been working with the IAEA on the treatment of cervical cancer since 1997.
Today, with IAEA’s assistance, the Instituto del Cancer de El Salvador is the first and only facility in El Salvador capable of treating cervical cancer on an outpatient basis. Thousands of women from El Salvador and neighbouring countries now undergo life-saving cervical cancer treatment each year. In the first 27 months after the centre was opened, over one thousand patients had been treated, with a high cure rate. More information.
World Cancer Day
The IAEA hosted a high level panel discussion focusing on this year’s World Cancer Day theme, ‘Debunk the Myths’, on 4 February 2014. Kwaku Aning, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation introduced the event by noting that, “World Cancer Day provides us with an opportunity to reach out and raise awareness about cancer and participate in the global debate on how to address the challenges.” He continued, “For the IAEA it also offers us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to supporting cancer activities in Member States and to build an understanding of the contribution of nuclear technology to the global struggle against cancer.”
A high level panel comprised of IAEA partners, Member States and international experts then shared experiences from their work in cancer control and further explored some of the pervasive myths surrounding the disease, particularly in developing countries.
Technical Cooperation human health success stories
Video: World Cancer Day 2014 - Statement by Kwaku Aning
Video: Cancer Control – IAEA's Contribution
Photo essay: Coping with Cancer - Viet Nam's Story
Photo essay: Did You Know? IAEA Helps Fight Cancer
Podcast: Facilitating Affordable Cancer Care
Podcast: Ask the Experts: Fight Against Cancer
Article: We Need to Talk About Cancer -IAEA Commemorates World Cancer Day
Article: A Regular Day at "K Hospital" in Hanoi