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Viewpoint
December 26, 2019

Framing New Models to Expand Access to Radiotherapy in Limited Resource Settings—Social Entrepreneurship

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California
  • 3Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Oncol. Published online December 26, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.5107

In recent years, global oncology experts have considered potential models to develop radiotherapy services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) amid rising need.1 Radiotherapy is required for definitive and palliative treatment in 50% to 70% of cancer cases in LMICs. While radiotherapy as a modality is less expensive than surgery and systemic therapies for cancer, it remains poorly accessible. Establishing a radiation therapy center is a capital-intensive process that requires detailed strategic and operational planning, quality assurance, workforce development, and structural investments that may exceed the financial capacity of health ministries in some LMICs.1 Nonetheless, advancements in global oncology are possible through active diasporic participation and investment in radiotherapy infrastructure, as exemplified by a cancer center in Ethiopia built by members of the Ethiopian-American Doctors Group.2 This Viewpoint responds to proposals that have become apposite to the growth in diasporans’ remittance to LMICs in recent years. We discuss the viable diasporic engagement as a model for social entrepreneurship yet to be explored in the discourse on expanding global access to radiotherapy.

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