Two radiation oncologists from Lviv Regional Cancer Center were trained at Stanford Radiation Oncology Department from September 4th to October 1st, 2023. They have participated in all educational activities for radiation oncology residents, attended tumor boards and chart rounds, shadowed physicians in patients’ visits, learned radiotherapy contouring, planning, and plan review. On October 1-3, 2023 they were part of the Ukrainian delegation to the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting. Help Ukraine Group (HUG) hopes the trainees will bring the knowledge they acquired at Stanford to Lviv Regional Cancer Center to teach others and benefit the cancer patients in Ukraine.
“My name is Daryna Semotyuk. I am a second-year medical resident specializing in radiology at Lviv Cancer Center. After completing my medical degree, I enrolled in a radiology internship. Since there is no opportunity for radiation oncology internships in Ukraine, I had to spend a year and a half gaining a foundational understanding of general radiation diagnostics. However, given that my internship is based in an oncology center, there is a possibility of practical experience in the radiation oncology department. It is only after completing a radiology internship that one can apply for a specialization in radiation oncology, which lasts only 3 months.
My experience in radiation therapy is very limited, as we have only recently acquired 2 new Varian linear accelerators. Therefore, the opportunity to observe in radiation oncology department at Stanford University has provided me with invaluable experience and the chance to witness treatments using the most advanced equipment in the world.
During my internship, I had the privilege of shadowing the dedicated radiation oncology team at Stanford. I actively participated in patient visits, contributed to treatment planning, and learned the art of contouring. It was truly inspiring to witness how the team functioned seamlessly, with each member executing their responsibilities with precision, professionalism, and unwavering dedication. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the experience was the willingness of all the doctors to answer my questions with a smile each day. They were eager to share their knowledge and provide as much insight as possible.
I express my deep appreciation to the incredible team that organized these invaluable training sessions for Ukrainian radiation oncologists. The hard work and dedication you all put into these initiatives are truly commendable. A special shoutout goes to Nataliya Kovalchuk, a true superwoman with the kindest heart. She has been instrumental in advancing radiation oncology in Ukraine, particularly in the training of physicians and medical physicists.
In Ukraine, Radiation Oncology has often been viewed as a palliative method of treatment for cancer patients, primarily due to the scarcity of new linear accelerators and a shortage of highly qualified RadOnc teams, including radiation oncologists, physicists, and radiation therapists. Initiatives like these training programs are vital for improving radiation oncology, enhancing the quality of patient care, and minimizing toxicity and side effects.”
“My name is Sofiia-Iryna Zaluska, and I am a radiation oncologist at Lviv Regional Caner Center. Lately, I had the amazing opportunity to do a thirty-day training at the StanfordUniversity Medical Center. During this period, I was exposed to some of the most advanced treatments in the field of radiation oncology, ranging from prostate brachytherapy to total body and skin irradiation.
Inspite the fact that this institution is equipped with the latest technology, they use and improve treatment with technologies that we have at the Lviv Regional Cancer Center, such as IMRT\VMAT and 3D conformal radiation therapy. Therefore, in addition to the knowledge that will be useful in the future, I have gained a lot of skills that can be used in my current practice.
I would like to thank the organizer of my internship course Nataliya Kovalchuk and the entire team of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford University Medical Center for their willingness to teach, share their experience and for their support for Ukraine. It was a great experience that will help develop the national medicine in the right direction. I sincerely thank you for providing such opportunities.”
Dr. Zaluska presented the experience and knowledge acquired at Stanford Radiation Oncology at the Lviv Regional Cancer Center meeting. More on this, here.