21 NOVEMBER 2013

Sharing Positive Experiences in Cancer Control in Latin America and the Caribbean Region

Sharing Latin AmericaOn 31 October and 1 November 2013, Panama hosted the second meeting on cancer control challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean region. The meeting was organized by IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) with support from Division of Latin America of Technical Cooperation Department, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO-WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Representatives from 15 IAEA Member States discussed progress and common challenges in cancer control in the region.

The meeting provided a platform for Member States having similar settings to share and discuss practical experiences in implementing cancer control activities. Regional experts presented their country's experience in coordination of national evidence-based cancer control interventions, using quality data for setting priorities in cancer prevention and early detection, establishment of multidisciplinary teams in cancer care, sustainable development of a national radiotherapy plan, and the establishment of a palliative care programme.

"Learning from other countries' experiences in the region allows us to strengthen dialogue with IAEA, PAHO, IARC and participating countries in order to initiate joint collaborations in cancer control," said Dr Milton Soria, representative of Bolivia. "This will support us to attain immediate and long-term goals."

Additionally, meeting participants reviewed progress achieved in four Member States after receiving the recommendations of the integrated mission of PACT (imPACT Review), a comprehensive assessment made by a multidisciplinary team of experts covering different areas of cancer control in the country. "The imPACT Review conducted in 2010 raised the level of discussion on cancer control in the country," said Dr Eduardo Palacios, Guatemala's Coordinator of National Programme on Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases. "It played an important role in improving our radiotherapy capacity and supported us to identify and move forward with prioritized actions of cancer control".

This meeting was a great opportunity for IAEA, PAHO and IARC to present in a single forum to health authorities' representatives in the region the various and complementary areas of cooperation with Member States. "Coordination between the relevant UN organizations and partners, each with its own mandate, is crucial to ensure comprehensive technical assistance to Member States in complementary areas of cancer control," highlighted Rolando Camacho, Acting Head of the IAEA's PACT office.

As an outcome, the meeting is expected to enhance cancer control developments in the region and encourage and improve cooperation and coordination of activities between IAEA, PAHO, IARC and Member States.