Status of radiotherapy resources in Africa: an International Atomic Energy Agency analysis

Lancet Oncol. 2013 Apr;14(4):e168-75. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70532-6.


Radiation therapy is an important component of cancer control programmes. The scarcity of radiation oncology resources in Africa is becoming more severe as cancer incidence increases in the continent. We did a longitudinal assessment of the status of radiation oncology resources in Africa to measure the extent of the problem and the effects of programmes designed to enhance radiation services in the continent. Radiation oncology departments in Africa were surveyed through the Directory of Radiotherapy Centres, and this information was supplemented by that available from International Atomic Energy Agency Regional African and Interregional project reports for 2010. Of 52 African countries included, only 23 are known to have teletherapy. These facilities are concentrated in the southern and northern states of the continent. Brachytherapy resources (high-dose rate or low-dose rate) were only available in 20 of the 52 African countries. Although progress has been made in the establishment of radiation oncology services in some countries, a large need still exists for basic radiation services, and much resource mobilisation is needed for services to keep pace with the burgeoning populations of many countries.

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Brachytherapy
  • Developing Countries
  • Health Resources*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • International Agencies
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiation Oncology*