GlobalRT is a movement to turn radiotherapy into a global health priority. As an initiative of the Young Leaders Program of the Global Task Force on Radiotherapy for Cancer Control (GTFRCC), it will provide a virtual platform for education, exchange, and action around the essential nature of radiotherapy for cancer care. We will feature the human side of radiation care through stories from cancer patients and health care providers, making the case for access to this powerful form of care therapy as a human right.
Cancer is a global problem. Of the roughly seven million cancer deaths that occur worldwide, approximately 70% of these are in low and middle-income countries. The majority of 27 million new cancer cases and 17 million cancer deaths that will occur by 2020 will also fall on resource-limited nations. Further, the likelihood of death from a particular type of cancer differs drastically from country to country. A woman with breast cancer in a high-income country has, on average, a less than 25% chance of dying from her disease, while the same woman in a low-income country has close to 60% chance of death.
Radiotherapy is an essential component of comprehensive cancer care. More than half of all patients with cancer will require radiation as all or part of their treatment, often in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation treats cancer by destroying the genetic material in rapidly growing cancer cells. The most common type of radiation used is x-rays, also known as photons. Radiation can be produced in a variety of ways, and is delivered to patients using a radiotherapy machine. It is used to used to treat cancer, prevent recurrence, and help manage pain and other symptoms.