Coronavirus and Radiotherapy services in Zambia

9 July, 2020

Forwarded from HIFA

Suspension of radiotherapy services due to COVID-19 in Zambia, which has one of the highest cervical cancer global incidence rates, will prove catastrophic for overall cancer outcomes. International travel has largely been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to this situation, Zambia has not been able to import radioactive isotopes for High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy, Iridium 192 (I192) and this has led to suspension of treatment for patients. Cancer of the cervix is the most common cancer in Zambia and brachytherapy is a core component of the treatment armamentarium. Mitigation strategies may include external beam radiotherapy boost or hysterectomy but both systems are overburdened and fragile. Zambia has a high likelihood of uncontrolled cervical cancer and poor outcomes for a highly curable disease in the right conditions if this situation carries on.

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Katie Foxall

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HIFA profile: Katie Foxall is Head of Publishing at eCancer, Bristol, UK. katie AT