Upping Iraq’s Cancer-Fighting Infrastructure with Country’s First Cyclotron

Upping Iraq’s Cancer-Fighting Infrastructure with Country’s First Cyclotron

August 27, 2020 at 05:08pm

Too often, in Iraq and across the Middle East, cancer is detected late. That’s a trage-dy for families and a challenge for health systems, since late detection can dramati-cally lower survival rates and increase treatment costs.

For example, when breast cancer is diagnosed early and the cancer is localized, survival is nearly 100%; when it is diagnosed only after it has spread to other parts of the body, survival is just 27%. Meanwhile, treatment costs for early detection are substantially lower than for late detection.

Bringing diagnostic services to more people and more communities is one important way to detect disease earlier. In Iraq, GE Healthcare is helping expand access by delivering a comprehensive range of technologies to the country’s first fully equipped cancer diagnosis facility.

Al-Andalus Oncology Center in Baghdad recently completed the installation of the country’s first cyclotron, which along with radiopharmacy equipment, produces ra-dioactive tracers needed for PET/CT scans used to help diagnose cancer, heart dis-ease and other chronic diseases.

The cyclotron’s capacity to produce tracers is sufficient not only to meet the needs of Al-Andalus, but also of a large number of other PET/CT machines in Baghdad and the surrounding region.

This will support the Iraqi government’s strategy of providing international standards of care to patients, without them needing to travel abroad. This is particularly bene-ficial, given COVID-19 travel restrictions.

As a result, the new GE technologies will help thousands of Iraqis gain access to world-class diagnosis and treatment locally.

In addition to the cyclotron, GE Healthcare is providing a comprehensive suite of related oncology solutions to Al-Andalus, including a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, advanced CT scanners, a gamma camera, mammography equip-ment, a bone densitometer, and an advanced ultrasound unit.

These services are urgently needed in Iraq, where a study by Faculty of Medicine at Basra University showed that cancer is the main cause of death in Southern Iraq, and that the number of breast cancer cases has increased 19% since 2004.

Al-Andalus Oncology Center offers eight floors dedicated to oncology diagnosis and treatment, including surgical procedures, chemical treatments, radiation and nuclear medicine.

Across Iraq, hospitals and clinics are relying on more than 5,500 products and technologies developed by GE Healthcare. To support these institutions, in 2012, GE Healthcare opened a service center in Iraq to efficiently service and repair equipment. The center was the first of its kind in the country.

Read more stories about GE Healthcare’s work to enhance healthcare in Iraq and across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

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