Northwestern and National Comprehensive Cancer Network working with health officials in Bolivia to improve cancer care
A delegation from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), including Northwestern oncology leaders, recently met with health leaders in The Plurinational State of Bolivia to begin generating cancer treatment recommendations to fit the country’s unique needs.
The new guidelines will be based on NCCN’s frameworks and guidelines, but the new versions will be translated into Spanish and will be the first to be adapted to the specific cancer care circumstances in Bolivia.
William Gradishar, MD, chief of Hematology and Oncology in the Department of Medicine and the Betsy Bramsen Professorship of Breast Oncology, attended as chair of the NCCN’s Guidelines Panel for Breast Cancer, while Al B. Benson, MD, professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, attended as chair of the Guidelines Panel for Rectal Cancer. Both also traveled as representatives of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
This work is possible thanks to the organization and funding of PROMIS Bolivia, with generous support from Northwestern Medicine’s Global Health Initiative and the Lurie Cancer Center. PROMIS Bolivia is a charitable foundation whose mission is to adapt, disseminate and implement state-of-the-science, international healthcare interventions throughout Bolivia in order to maximize the health outcomes of patients and their families.
“This collaboration is an important step forward for cancer care in Bolivia,” said Steven Schuetz, ’13 MD, chief surgical resident at Northwestern Medicine and founder of PROMIS Bolivia. “Cancer care in Bolivia remains geographically and financially inaccessible to a large proportion of the population, with high rates of medical impoverishment and early termination of treatment. The development of NCCN resource-stratified cancer guidelines adapted to the Bolivian healthcare system will allow every cancer patient in Bolivia — regardless of socioeconomic status — to be provided evidence-based cancer care that promotes treatment completion, minimizes impoverishment and results in better outcomes for the patient and their family.”
Read the full release at NCCN.org.