As a whole, the IAEA provides assistance to Member States through the education and training of personnel, technical advisory services, the provision of materials, tools and equipment, and the support of radiation safety and quality assurance.
PACT provides assistance in the area of cancer through imPACT Reviews, resource mobilization, and by supporting the development of strategic documents such as Comprehensive National Cancer Control Plans and bankable documents for fundraising. It also supports cancer-related IAEA activities that are delivered through technical cooperation, human health and other programmes.
Nuclear technology plays a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Over the past six decades, the IAEA has gained strong technical expertise and experience in the delivery of nuclear medicine and radiotherapy technology to developing countries.
The IAEA established PACT in 2004, with the goal of ensuring the integration of radiotherapy in comprehensive cancer control and of engaging with other international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to address cancer control in a comprehensive way. Since then, the Agency has worked closely with WHO, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and many other relevant collaborators to build a coalition of global partners committed to addressing the challenge of cancer in low and middle income IAEA Member States. The Agency’s contribution to this coalition focuses on radiation medicine, in line with the IAEA mandate.
The growing cancer challenge
In 2018, it was estimated that there were over 18 million new cancer cases and over 9.5 million related deaths, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. By 2030, these figures are expected to increase to over 24 million new cancer cases a year and 13 million deaths.
The greatest impact of this increase will fall on low- and middle-income countries. These are expected to suffer around 70 per cent of all cancer deaths by 2030.
Cancer patients have a much greater chance to survive the disease when they have access to affordable early cancer detection and treatment.
One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals targets for 2030 aims to reduce early deaths from non-communicable diseases, including cancer, by one third. Achieving this ambitious target could result in saving at least 40 million lives from cancer. This, however, requires a concerted effort from a broad range of partners in multiple sectors to considerably scale up resources and establish strong political commitment for an effective global response to cancer.
This article is as published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s website on their Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT)