Purpose: Implementation of tele-radiation oncology service in a resource limited setting.
Methods: Cameroon Oncology Center (COC) is a modern oncology center commissioned 019. It is located outside the city of Douala in the Republic of Cameroon. Douala is an urban metropolitan city with an estimated population of 4 million people. With the scarcity of qualified health professionals in radiation oncology, COC had to develop and deplore a hybrid telemedicine program for her oncology services since the limited radiation oncology professionals do not have clinical experience with modern radiotherapy like Intensity Modulation Radiation Therapy. This paper describes the oncology workflow with particular emphasis on treatment planning. The oncology telemedicine model consists of a team of US-based experts (radiation oncologists, medical oncologist, medical physicists and dosimetrists) supported by an onsite Cameroon based team that also consist of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and a host of other healthcare professionals. The team in Cameroon provides face-to-face consultations and evaluation of patients, review of pertinent medical history and pathology, provide initial dose prescription based on accepted protocol, perform computed tomography (CT) simulation, radiation treatment delivery, quality control of radiation equipment and patient treatment, evaluations and monitoring of patients during and post treatment consultation. The US-based team oversees treatment planning including contouring of the tumor and delineation of critical structures, computation and review of patient treatment plan, and transfer of approved plan to Cameroon for treatment delivery.
Results: 400 patients have benefited from high quality radiotherapy with almost 70% of the patients treated with Intensity Modulation Radiation Therapy (IMRT).
Conclusion: Using Tele-radiation oncology, COC is able to provide high-quality radiation treatments to cancer patients Cameroonians comparable to international standard. With increased access to well-trained and experienced professionals, telemedicine is an effective tool that offer quality assured radiotherapy to cancer patients in a resource-limited setting.
IM/TH- Mathematical/Statistical Foundational Skills: Virtual clinical trials