In the second half of 2015, the Cancer Foundation will be starting up the National Radiotherapy Training Program. The objective is to train 20 physicists with a transdisciplinary view and 80 radiotherapy technicians and also to provide updating courses for 300 doctors, radiotherapists, technicians and physicists. The project further includes developing and making available an ongoing virtual learning environment to train residents and update radiotherapy doctors, physicists and technicians throughout the country.
In the line of oncologic care, radiotherapy is recognized as an essential component of assistance for cancer patients. About 60% of them will benefit from such therapy at some point in their treatment, and results indicate a cure rate of 50% on an isolated basis and 60% when associated with chemotherapy or surgery.
The National Radiotherapy Training Program was conceived of by the Cancer Foundation and developed in partnership with INCA’s Instruction Department and UERJ’s Radiologic Science Laboratory in order to supplement the training and updating courses for radiotherapy area professional, pursuant to the requirements of the SUS, in conformity with the Health Ministry’s National Radiotherapy Program.
Created by the Federal Government, the National Radiotherapy Program involves the purchase of 50 machines to be installed at 50 new treatment centers and 50 machines to be installed at existing centers that need updating. The bidding process for purchase of the equipment included the requirement for the company winning the bid to set up a manufacturing plant in Brazil.
Such a decision will no doubt provide medium- to long-term benefits (5- to 10-year time frame), with installation of new centers and replacement of obsolete equipment. Even so, the greatest impact of the National Radiotherapy Program will be even more long term, what with production of equipment in our country, making the machines cheaper due to the reduction of taxes and the possibility of financing in Brazilian currency, creation of jobs and technical know-how.
The acquisition of radiotherapy machines, besides including future production here in Brazil, will also no doubt expand our capacity to handle cases and cut down the waiting time for treatment. Nonetheless, as radiotherapy is a highly complex process, characterized by a specific physical structure, a differentiated technological park and multi-professional action (doctors, physicists, technicians, nurses) in the various stages of planning and execution, adequate training and updating of the human resources involved are just as fundamental as the availability of the equipment. Hence the importance of the National Radiotherapy Training Program as proposed by the Cancer Foundation.
The program for updating and training will begin in the second half of 2015 and involve a group of 20 companies and two individual donors that will carry out the execution phase of the program that will contribute mightily to improve the quality of radio-therapeutic treatment in Brazil.