Drs. Shepil, Zelinskyi and Brovchuk observe at Stanford Radiation Oncology after #ASTRO23 attendance

Three Ukrainian onco practitioners: Dr. Shepil, a radiation oncologist from Kyiv Regional Cancer Center, and two medical physicists, Dr. Ruslan Zelinskyi from Spizhenko Clinic and  Dr. Serhii Brovchuk from Kyiv Regional Cancer Center observed at Stanford Radiation Oncology Department for a week.

The week was productive and busy for the observers: they got a tour of the department to see the linear accelerators, brachytherapy suites, 3-D printing devices, listened to the lectures, observed motion managed simulation, SABR, MR-guided and PET-linac treatments, Quality Assurance, physics plan check and the tour of the RefleXion PET-guided linac factory.

HUG team expresses loads of gratitude to the Stanford Radiation Oncology and RefleXion Medical Inc for  training and hosting and Nova Ukraine for funding their travel and stay.

Here are some of their impressions from the training:

“My name is Zoia Shepil, and I am a radiation oncologist at Kyiv Regional Cancer Center. I would like to thank Nataliya Kovalchuk and HUG very much for their support in organization and training Ukrainian onco practitioners. The trip was amazing!

Our visit to the USA from 09/30/23 to 10/15/23 consisted of two parts. The first was the participation and presentation at ASTRO in San-Diego, where I had the opportunity to show our experience  of treating patients in conditions when war and all hostilities that are associated with it are very close. The second was the observership at radiation oncology department at Stanford University. It was intense, but greatly useful and very interesting!For me participation in the ASTRO conference was unforgettable. Our Ukrainian session, our big friendly team had a common goal, which was to represent our country on this event-all, and it went successful. ASTRO is the biggest conference on radiotherapy, where trends in the radiation therapy, results of most current clinical trials, which benefit patients in radiation therapy by optimizing treatment and patient’s quality of life and functionality.

The observership in Stanford- it was my biggest clinical experience in a foreign country. It was especially important for me. I saw the organization of the work process at all levels: duties and work the RTTs, dosimetrists, medical physicists, radiation oncologists.  I saw that all staff work as one organism, this effective communication one with the other. I had the opportunity to participate at the tumor boards, consult the patients, perform contouring, and review plans for the radiation therapy.    I observed advanced technology: adaptive RT on MRI Linac, also using RefleXion, complex treatment of SRS on CyberKnife and SBRT, which, I think, is very important to be fully implemented in our country. At my current workplace with new linac with stereotactic capabilities and a motivated department I  am sure we will take the opportunity to do many things that I observed: implement SRS, SBRT in clinical practice, structuring documents using templates by example as ones from Stanford, we will introduce a second check for the treatment planning approval.

I hope the collaboration with the radiation oncology department at Stanford University will continue,  and I will have the opportunity to reach out to our colleagues there. This feeling of support is particularly important to us!”

“My name is Serhii Brovchuk, and I am a medical physicist working at Kyiv Regional Cancer Center. Between 09-30-2023 and 10-15-2023,  thanks to Dr. Nataliya Kovalchuk and HUG I had the honor to participate in a Ukrainian session at ASTRO and to have a short, but a very productive observation at Stanford Radiation Oncology department.

Our session at ASTRO was very successful. But it was also important to me, as maybe to the rest of the team, that it really reflected different aspects of the situation in radiation oncology in Ukraine, our challenges, efforts and work that we do.Visit to Stanford was absolutely amazing! This is the most qualified institution that I have ever had the opportunity to observe and the best radiation oncology clinical practices are applied here. At the same time, I met people who are very friendly and happy to share their research, and also show their clinical workflow. Radiation Oncology Department is equipped with very special machines like PET-linac and MRI-linac, still advanced but more spread in the world like CyberKnifes, also more conventional linacs, which also perfect for advanced treatment and brachytherapy where good implementation of 3D printing in this institution made it very adaptive to patient’s treatment and much improved the dose distribution in comparison to standard, that I saw before. All machines are used in a way so as to best fit what is best for patients. It is wonderful that we have the opportunity to learn from Stanford. I was impressed how much work was automated using advanced scripting, and spared time is used for focusing on better control, also on research and teaching. Teams of physicians, physicists, dosimetrist and RTTs are very big at the same time very cohesive and friendly. I am very happy to observe the department in general, but it was also very nice and important to personally meet colleagues from such a great institution. It is great if we can stay connected and share our work efforts, our success or challenges.”