Cobalt, Linac, or Other: What Is the Best Solution for Radiation Therapy in Developing Countries?

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2014 Jul 1;89(3):476-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2013.12.022.


The international growth of cancer and lack of available treatment is en route to become a global crisis. With >60% of cancer patients needing radiation therapy at some point during their treatment course, the lack of available facilities and treatment programs worldwide is extremely problematic. The number of deaths from treatable cancers is projected to increase to 11.5 million deaths in 2030 because the international population is aging and growing. In this review, we present how best to answer the need for radiation therapy facilities from a technical standpoint. Specifically, we examine whether cobalt teletherapy machines or megavoltage linear accelerator machines are best equipped to handle the multitudes in need of radiation therapy treatment in the developing world.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cancer Care Facilities
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*
  • Developing Countries* / statistics & numerical data
  • Equipment Reuse / standards
  • Equipment Reuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Forecasting
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Particle Accelerators* / standards
  • Particle Accelerators* / supply & distribution
  • Quality Improvement
  • Radiotherapy / instrumentation


  • Cobalt Radioisotopes