Belarus, IAEA launch joint project on radiotherapy quality audits

MINSK: A project of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, on the comprehensive audits of radiotherapy practices has been launched in 12 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The project coordinator in Belarus is the National Research Centre for Oncology and Medical Radiology, the Belarus News Agency, BelTA, learned from head of the Radiology Department No. 2 of the centre, Valery Sinaiko.

The project aims to study radiotherapy practices in these countries and offer recommendations on how to improve the quality of radiotherapy. This will allow unifying treatment protocols, identifying the needs of the counties in radiotherapy equipment and tools and determining the costs associated with the radiotherapy quality assurance. In the future, the information can be used for technical cooperation with the IAEA. The findings of the study might be useful for other international organisations, like the WHO, UICC, and ESTRO for ensuring adequate planning, facilitating cooperation and providing assistance taking into consideration the needs and priorities of each country.

The contract on implementing the project was signed earlier in December. The first stage of the project is to be completed next year. The contract can be extended for the period needed to complete the entire project and to fulfill the recommendations on the quality improvement, Valery Sinaiko said.

The National Research Centre for Oncology and Medical Radiology has been running joint programmes with the IAEA for several years already. This year the project on providing palliative care to glioblastoma patients has been completed. As a result, a fundamentally new approach to treating glioblastoma patients has been developed, which allows cutting radiotherapy costs without compromising the quality of treatment.

Today radiotherapy (therapy using ionizing radiation) is used to treat cancer. Radiation is known to be able to control or kill malignant cells. Radiotherapy is used to treat virtually every other cancer patient. In terms of the availability of radiotherapy equipment, Belarus is still behind Western Europe, however it is ahead of the other CIS member states.