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Rays of Hope, innovative initiative against cancer

Vienna, Feb 29 (Prensa Latina) The Rays of Hope initiative helps countries strengthen their capacities to improve the diagnosis, staging and treatment of cancer, said the director of the IAEA's Human Health Division, May Abdel-Wahab.

This program of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) supports global research, teaching and innovation related to that disease, since only five percent of global spending on cancer is directed to low and middle-income countries.

However, it is estimated that by 2030, 70 percent of deaths from this disease will be in those nations, so Rays of Hope is committed to changing this reality and helping those with fewer resources to increase access to cancer care.

Abdel-Wahab assured that more than a third of all types of cancer can be avoided, and some of the most common, such as cervical, breast, head and neck, and colorectal, are curable if they are detected quickly and treated properly.

National cancer policies and programs, if appropriately designed and implemented, will help reduce the burden of cancer and improve services to cancer patients and their families, regardless of country context, she said.

The alarming cancer statistics, coupled with a strong international support capacity, led the IAEA to be the first to launch an initiative like Rays of Hope, which aims to help developing countries meet their urgent needs and improve capabilities of radiological medicine.

Rays of Hope will support the sustainable and comprehensive introduction or scale-up of radiotherapy and will include support for regional reference centers and innovation.

Countries with limited or no radiotherapy facilities will be supported to establish their first services or expand their imaging capabilities to reach more people.

The IAEA initiative contributes to the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Health and well-being), in particular the goal of reducing premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third.