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Elekta | Focus Magazine

Philippines island of Davao launches brachy service

Brachytherapy

Improving access to quality care for women with cervix cancer

davao-regional-medical-center
The beautiful Davao Regional Medical Center – Cancer Center for Mindanao

Women with gynecological cancers in Davao, an island in the south of the Philippines, now have convenient access to potentially curative brachytherapy treatment. On March 23, doctors at The Cancer Center for Mindanao (Davao Regional Medical Center, Barangay Apokon, Tagum City) used their Elekta microSelectron® afterloader to deliver intracavitary brachytherapy to their first patient, a woman with cervical cancer.

The treatment was a significant milestone for the cancer center and a critical new healthcare resource for Davao region residents, who are now spared long-distance travel for treatment. Centers in the Philippines operate just 13 brachytherapy afterloaders to serve a total population of about 100 million people, making access to the modality difficult for men and women alike.

The Davao Regional Medical Center, through the good leadership of Dr. Bryan O. Dalid as the Medical Center Chief, elected to launch their brachytherapy service with treatments of gynecologic cancers, but plan to expand their brachy activities to treat other indications, such as nasopharyngeal, prostate and breast cancers.

What an experience for the multidisciplinary team-fast ramp up to clinical

What makes Cancer Center for Mindanao’s first patient treatment especially remarkable was that it was performed only six days after some members of the cancer center medical staff completed Elekta’s Brachy Academy workshop “Transition from 2D to 3D Brachy for Gynecology” at Chiang Mai University Hospital, March 17-19. The clinicians included gynecologic oncologist Edel Badilla, MD, radiation oncologist Faiqha Bagis, MD, and medical physicist Heidie Jayo.

On April 1, Dr. Bagis and Dr. Badilla collaborated to treat the second patient, a cervical cancer case, in addition to delivering the second fraction for the first patient. In the following days, more gynecologic patients were treated using a vaginal cylinder or Fletcher suit by the radiation oncologists of the center, Dr. Cyrus Estera, the Chief Radiation Oncologist and Dr. Ma. Lourdes Lacanilao.

davao-pics
In Photos: Brachytherapy at Davao Regional Medical Center – Cancer Center for Mindanao with the Medical Center Chief and concurrent Operations Manager, Dr. Bryan Dalid (bottom left photo, 4th from right); Former Department of Health – Secretary, Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin (bottom left photo, 7th from right); and the members of the Brachytherapy team (including the radiation oncologists, gyne-oncologists, anaesthesiologists, medical physicists, radiation therapy technologists, and nurses)

“We are very thankful that we were able to attend the Brachy Academy workshop,” says Heidie Jayo. “It was definitely helpful in the start-up of the brachytherapy service in our center. As a medical physicist, the proposed clinical audits/discussions a day before the treatment helped in identifying the strengths and improvements needed in our process and workflow.”

“It’s incredible that within two weeks of participating in the Brachy Academy course these professionals have translated their learning of brachytherapy techniques into real-world benefits for patients,” says Kirsten Bell, brachytherapy product specialist for Elekta’s Asia-Pacific region. “They certainly have gotten off to a flying start.”

Dr. Edel Badilla adds, “As a gynecologic oncologist, I am now better equipped to communicate with the multi-disciplinary team. Before, I worked only with the Radiation Oncologist. I can now participate in discussions regarding technical aspects of the treatment.”

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