GACCF attends AORTIC 2019

GACCF Executive Director, Tonya Steiner attended the 12th International Conference on Cancer in Africa. The conference themed Cancer in Africa: Innovation, Strategies, Implementation, was held in Maputo, Mozambique from November 5 – 8, 2019.

“In November, I spent an incredible week at AORTIC 2019 (African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer) in Mozambique solidifying initiatives and advocating for improved access and treatment in cancer care across Africa,” commented Tonya Steiner, GACCF Executive Director.

The AORTIC International Conference on Cancer in Africa is a unique platform to learn and collaborate. The conference brings together multidisciplinary specialists from the global cancer community to reduce the impact of cancer in Africa.

Tonya continued, “We were joined by our esteemed international community of oncology leaders and collaborated with Princess Margaret Cancer Center and the Kenya Medical physicist of Equra Health to deliver the importance of transiting and upskilling to IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy).”

Bernard Owino, medical physicist and Head of Radiotherapy for Equra Health, presented at the event in conjunction with the Global Access to Cancer Care Foundation. His presentation highlighted the benefits, the expected challenges and the strategies in the implementation of advanced radiotherapy techniques, starting from the basic two-dimensional (2D) to three-dimensional (3D) to intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), with special focus on low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

His presentation attracted a large number of the 1,300 cancer care professionals from around the globe attending the event. In the days following the conference Bernard shared his recommendations to improve cancer care in the most underserviced countries.

  • Building capacity across multidisciplinary radiation oncology teams (oncologists, physicists and radiotherapists) is an urgent need.
  • Transitioning from 2D to 3D to IMRT should be treated as a matter of urgency.
  • Medical Physicists should be encouraged and supported to attend medical education events in order to create awareness on their existence and role in the multidisciplinary cancer care team.
  • Interdisciplinary team members (specifically physicists) should join forums, such as the Kenya Physicists Forum, to participate in monthly sessions on various medical physics topics.

Conference organizers prepared an exciting program focused on the unique burden and opportunities for cancer control in Africa. The conference featured an in-depth scientific program with local, African, and internationally-renowned keynote speakers. The agenda also included symposia led by experts and interactive workshops to equip attendees with diverse tools that can be implemented in innovative and resourceful ways. Major areas of focus included cancers of the cervix, breast, prostate, and esophagus; haematological cancers; and hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, the conference focused on the development of National Cancer Control Programs and addressed the issue of palliative care in Africa.

There were opportunities for networking at the conference during social events with the African and the international cancer communities in one of the most beautiful seaside cities in Africa. The robust scientific content, local-flavored social events, and a great setting made AORTIC’s 12th International Conference on Cancer in Africa a “must attend” event for anyone involved in cancer control in Africa.