A Battle On A Different Front
Staff at the National Medical University in Kyiv, Ukraine, watched as forklifts unloaded large wooden shipping crates from two semi-trailer trucks that arrived from Poland. The boxes, some of which are taller than most people, contain pieces to a linear accelerator (LINAC) which, when assembled, will deliver precise radiation treatments to cancer patients—the first step toward addressing the lack of cancer treatments since the war started.
Many Ukrainian hospitals—destroyed during the war or overwhelmed with war-related injuries—lack the equipment and resources needed to provide cancer treatments. For cancer patients, a missed treatment can be just as life-threatening as a war shelling.
It’s been nearly 15 months since the war began, and the future for cancer patients is starting look up. Brother’s Brother Foundation has joined the Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute (AHNCI), Radiating Hope, and the Elekta neuroscience company in a partnership aimed at providing state-of the-art radiation oncology care at National Medical University. Non-profit organization Radiating Hope secured and supplied the LINAC, which BBF shipped to Ukraine. The machine’s arrival in Kyiv marks the beginning of the long-term plan to care for the cancer patients who have been forced to go without medical support during the war.
Using a LINAC, radiation therapists will be able to administer treatments that conform to a tumor’s shape, thereby leaving the surrounding tissue undisturbed. This is particularly helpful when targeting tumors that impact the neck, head, or vital organs. Treatments can be performed in as little as 15 to 20 minutes and do not require hospitalization.
Staff from AHNCI will work with Elekta, the LINAC manufacturer, to train Ukrainian radiation oncologists and technicians, physicists, and doctors on how to provide advanced treatments with the equipment. BBF has pledged $25,000 to support on-site visits, which will be used to identify challenges and establish an online training platform.