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Radiation Oncologists & Treatments In Myanmar

Radiation oncology is a medical specialty, an essential branch of a multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment. It uses high-energy X-rays or other particles delivered through a linear accelerator to destroy cancer cells or shrink tumours. Such x-rays are painless and invisible. In Myanmar, steps have been taken to improve the quality of treatment for cancer patients. Radiation oncologists in Myanmar work at various cancer centres and hospitals, preparing treatment plans and helping patients receive quality care.

The State Of Radiation Oncology In Myanmar

Over the last few years, reforms to the health system have included multiple improvements in the delivery of radiation therapy services in Myanmar. This is true for both government and private-for-profit sectors. In Myanmar, there are four public radiotherapy centres:

  • Yangon
  • Mandalay
  • Nay Pyi Taw
  • Taunggyi

According to the hospital-based data, there are five common malignancies in Myanmar, namely cervical, breast, head and neck, and gastrointestinal tract cancer. Annually, approximately more than 7500 new patients are registered in the four radiotherapy centres, and radiotherapy is offered to cancer patients for curative and palliative treatment.
In Myanmar, oncology treatments have a multidisciplinary approach, primarily involving surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy for cancer management. Best Oncologists in Myanmar frequently perform tumour resections, while chemotherapy and radiation therapy are widely available treatments.

Key Treatments Done By Radiation Oncologists In Myanmar

Radiation oncologists in Myanmar have started using sophisticated technology to treat malignant and benign tumours. They use proven radiation treatments either alone or as a part of chemotherapy or surgery.

1. Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy or IMRT: In IMRT, the oncologist manipulates the radiation beams to conform to the tumour’s shape. It prevents a huge part of healthy tissue from getting exposed to radiation.
2. Image-guided Radiation Therapy or IGRT: The radiation oncologist in Mynmar’s hospitals uses IGRT to direct the radiation’s delivery. This treatment uses imaging technology to guide the treatment of the patient.
3. 3D Conformal Radiation Therapy: In this cancer therapy, the oncologist uses virtual simulation to produce 3D images of the tumour area. Through this, they deliver radiation in larger doses.
4. Conventional X-ray Therapy: This is the traditional cancer therapy wherein the oncologist uses X-rays to kill cancerous cells.
5. Radiosurgery: In this cancer treatment, precise radiation is used to target the tumour from different angles. It prevents the surrounding healthy tissue’s exposure to radiation.
6. Radioactive Sources: The radiation oncologist implants radioactive sources beside or on the tumour area. It delivers huge amounts of radiation but does not impact the surrounding tissue.

Recent Advances In Radiation Oncology In Myanmar

In the past years, many private hospitals with radiation oncology services have brought about significant enhancements in this domain. Some of the key developments are as follows:

1. Strategies are being used to increase the number of radiation therapy services in hospitals.
2. Clinical practice standards are being upgraded.
3. There has been an increase in staff numbers in various hospitals.
4. The Yangon General Hospital has been at the forefront of advances in radiation oncology. In 2014, it set up the linear accelerator plus technology machine to deliver high-energy X-ray beams to tumours.
5. Hospitals like Vejthani Hospital offer the latest treatment options, like immunotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, to defeat specific types of cancer.

Pediatric Radiation Oncology In Myanmar

In Myanmar, there are two distinct pediatric oncology and hematology centres at Yangon and Mandalay Children’s Hospitals. These centers cater to the southern and northern regions of Myanmar, respectively. The pediatric oncology department in Yangon was founded in 2003. Presently, it has 35 inpatient beds and 12 outpatient beds. In 2011, Mandalay witnessed the inception of a dedicated pediatric oncology ward. In this ward, there are 40 beds.

Both centers manage pediatric oncology and hematology malignancies. Radiation oncologists treat children up to the age of 12 years. Their scope of services encompasses a range of treatments and provisions. These include the following:

  • Intensive care
  • Surgery
  • Hematology-oncology
  • Nutrition
  • Nephrology
  • IMRT therapy targets the tumor from various angles
  • IGRT therapy for precise radiation to the tumor
  • SRS therapy that delivers thin beams of high radiation to the tumor
  • Brachytherapy to treat smaller areas in less time

The diagnostic facilities in these radiation oncology clinics include the following:

  • Blood tests including those for HIV and malaria
  • Basic X‑rays
  • CT, MRI, and ultrasound scans
  • IV antibiotics for infections
  • Basic molecular pathology immunohistochemistry service

Average Cost Of Radiation Oncology Treatments In Myanmar

The estimated cost of various radiation oncology treatments in Myanmar’s major private hospitals is given below.

Hospital name The average cost in USD
Pinlon Hospital Between $5000 to $10,000
Parkway Cancer Centre Between $6,899 to $10,200
ARYU Hospital Between $6,725 to $11,888
Sakura Hospital Between $5,998 to $11,288
Yangon General Hospital Between $8,000 to $12,756
Victoria Hospital Between $8,763 to $11,387
AUNG Yadana Hospital Between $6,963 to $11,400

Factors Affecting The Cost Of Radiation Therapy In Myanmar

Many factors go into the calculation of the total cost of radiation therapy. In the major private hospitals of Myanmar, this cost depends on the following factors.

1. Cancer’s severity: The expense of radiation oncology services is more if the cancer has spread to other organs and tissues.
2. Type of radiation therapy: Internal radiation therapy uses X-rays. It is more expensive than implanting a radioactive device within the patient.
3. Number of sessions: If cancer has spread, the patient will need to go through various radiation sessions. It will further increase the cost.
4. Combination of radiation therapy: Sometimes, the oncologist combines radiation with chemotherapy or another surgery. It increases the hospital stay and affects the overall cost.
5. Radiation exposure: Some cancers cannot go without using a lot of radiation. The higher the radiation dose, the more will be the cost.

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  • Praggya

    Praggya is seasoned medical content writer and she helped numerous healthcare organizations achieve their communication goals. Her focus while writing about healthcare content is to enable readers to understand medical matters that will facilitate better decision-making. She feels fortunate to have had the privilege to interview thousands of doctors and patients for the content. In the past, she has written many research stories and articles in the newsletters of leading clinics. She is passionate about exploring the length and breadth of content that she creates. Readers frequently appreciate her skill in translating complex medical information into easily understandable and relatable content.

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