Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
CASTELLANOS, María Esperanza. New technologies: needs and challenges in radiotherapy in Latin America. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.2-3, pp. 143-150. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892006000800011.
The cumulative experience gathered over more than a century of practice of radiotherapy has demonstrated the latter's importance not only for the palliative treatment of a fraction of cancer cases, but mainly for the curative treatment of an even greater proportion of such cases. In light of the changes in technology, the ever-increasing access developing countries to such technology, and its current coverage in Latin America, any efforts in this area should be aimed at improving the quality of the radiotherapy services and centers that are already in place. This involves developing their technological assets to the fullest, expanding their services, and complying with the minimum quality requirements established for second-level facilities. Each center should be equipped to carry out all stages of the radiotherapy process, from simulation through treatment verification and patient follow-up, with a high level of quality (level 2). To achieve this, it should possess the necessary technology and properly-trained staff that are required for the purpose. Collaborative efforts in the Region should also prioritize helping countries implement national treatment standards for all stages of the radiotherapy process and promoting the implementation of validated quality assurance programs.
Keywords : radiotherapy; quality assurance; health services needs and demand; Latin America.