HDR Brachytherapy for Medical Physicists
The delivery of high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy plays a central role in the treatment paradigm of cervical cancer. HDR improves local control and overall survival, and the marginal cost for each treatment requires minimal material resources. External beam (EBRT) and brachytherapy delivered in combination can cure women with advanced disease, and in the absence of EBRT, brachytherapy alone can provide durable local control. However, radiotherapy is severely underutilized across Sub-Saharan Africa, including those with the necessary equipment.
In 2019, Rayos Contra Cancer (RCC) and BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) partnered to establish a scalable high-quality gynecologic HDR brachytherapy training program. This targeted ten centers in Africa and the Middle East that shared fundamental gaps in training required to operate their acquired equipment safely and effectively. The program consisted of 18 educational sessions, each of one hour length, scheduled weekly over the course of 4 months. It was supplemented with real-time mentorship, support for safety and quality assurance documentation, and concluded with 2 weeks of consolidative onsite training at each site. The total costs for this innovative model amounted to $10,000 for training 10 high-volume radiotherapy centers.