5,000 patients treated cancer with nuclear medicine
Care for this population is provided free of charge at the Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy centers in El Alto, inaugurated in March of last year, and in Santa Cruz, which began operations in September
The Centers for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy (CMNyR) of El Alto and Santa Cruz made it possible for 5,000 patients to overcome cancer in the 2022 administration, revealed on Sunday the Executive Director General of the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN), Hortensia Jiménez .
“Of the 8,400 patients treated, 60 percent, which is in the case of El Alto, was for radiotherapy, that is, we are talking about about 5,000 patients who have been treated this year and have had the opportunity to be cured of cancer. ”, affirmed Jiménez in statements to the program Las 7 on 7 on Bolivia TV.
Jiménez emphasized that these 5,000 people have been treated by radiotherapy and have “eliminated the cancer.”
According to the official, 70% of the patients who come to the centers present “advanced cancer” pictures, but this does not prevent them from being treated and even recovered.
The data also show that 80% of the patients correspond to women, of whom 24% do so for cervical cancer and 19% for breast cancer.
Care for this population is provided free of charge at the Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy centers in El Alto, inaugurated in March of last year, and in Santa Cruz, which began operations in September.
Each one of them It is equipped with a PET/CT and SPET CT, state-of-the-art tomographs that use nuclear technology to detect cancer with precise images that allow for an early diagnosis of the disease.
In the treatment area, it has a radiotherapy unit with two linear accelerators, a high-dose rate brachytherapy area that will allow treatment in less time than is available today.
In addition, a simulator tomograph and chemotherapy area, offices, pharmacies, laboratories, infirmaries and injection rooms.
In total, there are two PET/CT, two SPET CT and four linear accelerators, which are available to the population free of charge, which was not the case before the start of operations of both centers, which will be completed in the first semester of this 2023 with a third facility being built in La Paz.
Jiménez recalled that in 2016 the first linear accelerator was put into operation at the Oncologico del Oriente and the second in 2019 at the Hospital de Clínicas.
Linear Accelerators Arrive
The Executive Director General of the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN) He reported that The two linear accelerators for the Center for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy (CMNyR) in La Paz have already arrived in the country, which plans to start operations in the first half of this year.
This is the third center that will be added to those installed in El Alto and Santa Cruz, which began operations in March and September 2022, respectively, and with which the care network for cancer patients will be completed.
“The center is located in the Achumani area, the two accelerators have already arrived, they arrive by port, they are in full assembly so that they can start operations and with that we would be concluding the network of centers with six linear accelerators that are calibrated the same so that patients can use any of the centers, be it Santa Cruz, El Alto or La Paz,” Jiménez said on the Las 7 program on Bolivia TV.
Like the other two centers, the La Paz facility requires an investment of 50 million dollars and will have state-of-the-art equipment: a positron emission computed tomography equipment and another single photon emission computed tomography equipment.
It will have a radiotherapy area, which has two linear accelerators, a high dose rate brachytherapy equipment and a tomograph simulator (CT).
In addition, it will be integrated by clinical oncology and outpatient chemotherapy.
The spectrum of patients established to receive care is broad. People insured to the Unified Health System (SUS) will receive care under the benefits established by Supreme Decree 4608.
Those insured in the different health and insurance funds that have an agreement with the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency will also receive specialized medical attention.
The total investment in the three centers reaches 150 million dollars, which not only covers the construction and acquisition of equipment, but also the training of specialists in both the scientific area, which includes medical physicists, technologists and engineers, as in the clinical part that reaches radiotherapists, nuclear medicine doctors and imaging doctors.
Jiménez announced that the center will begin operations in the first half of this year.
He stressed that the three centers represent an “important leap forward in the incorporation of state-of-the-art technology that is on a par with European countries and with professionals who have been trained and trained to carry out solvent management.”
A hope for the
Cancer patients in Tarija have seen with hope the start-up of nuclear medicine centers. However, they recognize that it is economically expensive for a cancer patient to go to the interior of the country to be treated, for which they urge the authorities to make intergovernmental agreements viable, in addition to enabling a shelter to stay while the treatment lasts.
When the center was inaugurated in El Alto, the president of the Association of Cancer Patients “Lazos Solidarios”, Blanca Esquite, commented that the treatment that patients follow is long, since initially they must undergo chemotherapy, only to later go on to radiotherapy that is done in the interior of the country.
“There are low-income patients who finish their chemo here and don’t have the resources to go for their radiotherapy, not even for tickets, but now with this center it will be a great help for all of us who go through this disease. But there would have to be an agreement between the Mayor’s Office of Tarija, the Governor’s Office and the Government so that we can go to this center and receive care ”, he emphasized.
Esquite points out that moving to the interior of the country to undergo treatment requires several days, which is why he believes it is necessary to set up a shelter to help cancer patients, at least to cover treatment costs.
“Radiotherapy treatment lasts between four and six months, depending on the case,” he mentioned.
He explained that there are currently around 40 sick patients with cancer in Tarija who are undergoing chemotherapy, but he warns of several difficulties that they are currently going through, since the State is not guaranteeing the medicines, and when they go to the local authorities the argument is that “it is not their competence”.
The representative of cancer patients explained that, of the 40 sick people, at least 20 have stopped undergoing chemotherapy in Tarija, due to various factors, some because they have low defenses and others because they contracted Covid-19.
Esquite agrees on the need for Tarija to have the Cancer Hospital completed and equipped to end the pilgrimage of patients from Tarija through the interior of the country.
The attentions made
According to the Executive Director General of the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN), of the 8,400 patients treated in total, 70% of the patients who come to the centers present “advanced cancer” pictures. They still receive treatment. The data also show that 80% of the patients correspond to women, of whom 24% do so for cervical cancer and 19% for breast cancer.
Equipment of the centers
The centers are equipped with state-of-the-art PET/CT and SPET CT scanners that use nuclear technology to accurately image cancer for early diagnosis. The treatment area has a radiotherapy unit with two linear accelerators, a high-dose rate brachytherapy area that will allow treatment in less time than is available today.
A new center in La Paz
The two linear accelerators for the Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy Center of La Paz have already arrived in the country, which plans to start operations in the first half of this year. This is the third center that will be added to those installed in El Alto and Santa Cruz, which began operations in March and September 2022, respectively, and with which the care network for cancer patients will be completed.