The final stage of the Formosa Center for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy is progressing at a good pace, which is being built on the premises adjacent to the High Complexity Hospital (HAC). According to estimates by the provincial government, the work would be complete by the end of the year.
“We are in a very advanced stage of the work thanks to what Governor Gildo Insfrán made a reality with his own funds last year, since we did not have support from the Nation at that time,” he said in statements to AGENFOR the electronic engineer José Gustavo Farías, primary responsible for the cyclotron of the Project Center for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy of Formosa.
He asserted that despite the neutralization that Formosa suffered by the macrista national management, thanks to the consequent efforts of Dr. Insfrán and the genuine funds of the province “the activities of the work were resumed that was stopped for more than two years by decision of former President Mauricio Macri, like so many others in Formosa ”.
In turn, he indicated that “although the pandemic has affected us, like all of us, a very important work is being carried out by many intervening actors, where the tasks are interdisciplinary”, underlining that “it is a synergy and coordination for to achieve the completion of this work, since on the one hand there is the construction company, the designer, the UCAP that acts as the controller, we who are the end users in this and the firms that have to come to install the equipment ”.
He detailed that the project was divided into two: Radiotherapy on the one hand and Nuclear Medicine on the other. “Today, the priority is Radiotherapy because it is about doing treatments, with which that would involve the earlier completion. Once the work is finished, it will coordinate with the companies that have to come to install the equipment, ”he said, emphasizing that all the equipment has already been purchased and paid for.
“Except for the cyclotron, everything is in deposits in Formosa. They are air-conditioned, with temperature and humidity controls. They also have a system that continually verifies them and qualified personnel make daily checks to ensure that all this is kept in good condition ”, he clarified.
Regarding the paralysis of such a transcendent work for the people of Formosa, the specialist lamented: “The truth is that I have no words because I think about it from the patients’ point of view. What they are experiencing today, such as transfers to Chaco, Corrientes or other provinces to carry out the treatments, which in turn have to be taken to the economic side, is a consequence of the neutralization that the macrismo did ”.
“It is complicated, difficult and really overwhelming for the person who already comes with a burden, since the disease not only undermines you physically, but also psychologically and morally. It also affects not only the patient, it also distresses the whole family, ”warned engineer Farías.
Along these lines, he explained that this panorama became more complex with the pandemic, due to the fact that circulation between the provinces was restricted and certain treatments had to be prioritized. “There are centers that are working with a much more limited capacity because the protocols make everything much more extensive in time,” he explained.
For his part, the bioengineer and radiation physicist Mauro Canalis pointed out to this Agency that “while nuclear medicine is more intended for diagnosis through, for example, tomography or resonance, radiotherapy is the treatment for cancer. It has other applications in non-cancers, but 90% is for this type of disease, “he described.
“Radiation therapy is an area of medicine that uses radiation to destroy tumor cells,” he explained. As radiation is handled, the maximum person in charge within a radiotherapy facility is a doctor, whose specialty is called radiotherapist, but in turn needs a radiation physicist, who is in charge of quality assurance of equipment and treatment planning ”.
This function is the one performed by the aforementioned professional, who is joined by another specialist, Gastón Benavidez.
Likewise, in relation to the substantial role that the Center will have, he highlighted that “today people who need radiotherapy have to leave the province and more in this context of pandemic it has been seen that it is necessary to provide that care in Formosa so that patients are contained in their own place ”.
“Currently, surgeries and chemotherapies are being performed, but the third phase in cancer treatment, which is radiotherapy, is missing,” he stressed. Therefore, it is aimed to make it work in the first instance within this complex. And in a next stage the nuclear medicine part will follow, which has to do with the diagnosis with the use of radioisotopes ”, he said.
Regarding the rigorous cycle of training that the professional team in the area had to complete, engineer Farías said that “we are twenty people in total. We started in 2015 with training, although the genesis of the project is earlier, since it crystallizes in 2014 with the national plan ”.
“It was a long and slow process,” he pointed out, marking as an example that in the cases of Canalis and Benavidez “it took three years between theoretical training and what is field training or flight hours, as it is also called , which is done directly with equipment and patients ”.
Added to this are dosimetrists and radiotherapists, “specialties that are very difficult to find in a market that is increasingly limited.”
Similarly, the bioengineer Canalis remarked that once the Center for Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy of Formosa has been completed, a presence will be established throughout the region, since “there are no new technologies” in the northern part of the country.
“In general, they are old equipment, with which the treatments have a certain quality,” he said. On the other hand, with the equipment that Formosa has, it is possible to do first world treatments ”, he highlighted.
He reinforced the above, highlighting that “within Radiotherapy we have two areas: one is teletherapy and the other is brachytherapy, and in the country there are not many centers that have these two technologies in the same place. Generally, in private clinics there is only teletherapy and there is no brachytherapy. That is why the technology that will be in Formosa is very important ”, he concluded.