Australia is using nuclear science and technology to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment in the Asia-Pacific.
Project implemented: 2014
Train medical physicists in Asia-Pacific for safe and effective delivery of radiation oncology services.
Cancer is a growing health risk to developing nations, and a solid medical physics capability is vital to meet the challenge.
Sustainability of training addressed by developing pilot programs and teaching standards for use in-country, along with simplified and harmonised protocols for certifying medical physicists.
Cancer is an increasing health challenge. Globally, cancer kills 8.2 million people per year, mainly in developing nations. Deaths from cancer are more than double those from tuberculosis, malaria and HIV combined. Effective national diagnosis and treatment programs are crucial to improving cancer outcomes. Such programs require the use of advanced nuclear science techniques: nuclear medicine to diagnose cancers, and radiation therapy to treat identified tumours. Working closely with oncologists, medical physicists are the trained personnel who calculate the radiation doses required during diagnosis and treatment to ensure procedures are administered to patients both effectively and safely. Medical Physics is a highly specialised field, and developing nations, including those in the Asia-Pacific, often struggle to attract and retain qualified staff. To address this challenge, Canberra Hospital and ANSTO are leading an IAEA project to train medical physicists in the region.