System-Level Capacity of High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy for Management of Cervical Cancer in an Upper-Middle Income Country: A Case Study From Brazil

Andre Guimaraes Gouveia, Gustavo Arruda Viani, Vanessa Freitas Bratti, Juliana Fernandes Pavoni, Richard Sullivan, Arthur Accioly Rosa, Christopher M. Booth, Ajay Aggarwal, Timothy P. Hanna, Fabio Ynoe Moraes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Ensuring optimal access to radiation therapy (RT) facilities is challenging for many countries. External beam RT and brachytherapy (BCT) are required to treat advanced cervical cancer. In this analysis, we evaluated the system-level capacity of BCT in Brazil and its relationship with access to complete cervix cancer radiation treatment with both external beam RT and BCT. Methods and Materials: We used official government reports to compile data on BCT and linear accelerator (LINAC) numbers, geographic distribution and coverage, cervical cancer annual incidence, and prevalence in Brazil. We also evaluated changes in national BCT capacity between 2001 and 2021. The 2020 relationship between cervical cancer cases for RT per BCT unit, LINAC per BCT unit, and the LINAC supply for each Brazilian state and region were evaluated. For comparison, the LINAC per BCT unit ratio in Brazil was compared with Europe using International Atomic Energy Agency data. Results: Eighty-five percent (23/27) of Brazilian states have at least 1 BCT unit; nationally, there are 117 cervical cancer cases for RT per BCT unit. Compared with the benchmark of 200 cervical cancer cases per BCT device per year, there are enough BCT units to fill capacity in Brazil nationally and regionally. The ratio of total cervix cancer cases per BCT unit decreased substantially over time from 142 in 2013 to 117 in 2021 (P < .0001). Nationally, there are 252 LINAC units in the public system with a ratio of 1985 new cancer cases/LINAC. Brazilian regions have a LINAC shortage ranging from 15 to 141 units. There were 2.55 LINACs per BCT unit in Brazil, compared with 3.25 in Europe (P = .012). Conclusions: Over 20 years, BCT capacity in Brazil has increased to meet the cervical cancer demand. However, the LINAC shortage has persisted over the decades, affecting access to complete treatment and possibly the oncological outcomes. These data can help organize the patient treatment flow, avoid treatment delays, and improve survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-553
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


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