Global Health Initiative

Developing countries make up roughly 85% of the world’s population but possess only one third of the world’s radiation equipment. Radiotherapy is a complicated but cost-effective means of curing cancer and relieving symptoms. ARRO's Global Health Initiative's mission is to expand the role of radiation oncologists in achieving more equitable health care for all global citizens through collaborative humanitarian outreach, education and research.

Quick Facts: Cancer in Developing Countries

  • Seven out of 10 cancer deaths globally occur in developing countries.
  • Cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
  • 12.7 million new cases of cancer are detected per year worldwide, with the majority of new cases occurring in developing countries.
  • Developing countries lack access to radiation equipment. The equipment they do have is often outdated and insufficient.
  • US: Approximately one machine for 105,000 people; 2 percent of machines are cobalt
  • Africa: one machine for 4.8 million people; 48 percent of machines are cobalt
  • South America: one machine for 640,000 people; 39 percent of machines are cobalt

These numbers reveal inequity and great need in global cancer care. The ARRO Global Health Initiative hopes to increase awareness of these disparities and opportunities to advance cancer care worldwide.

Radiation Oncology: A Global Perspective

The ARRO Global Health Subcommittee has created a series of presentations that take a deeper look at the facts regarding radiation oncology globally. View the presentations below for various facts and figures about radiation oncology around the world.

Global Health Initiative Goals and Objectives:

  1. To identify domestic and global disparities in cancer prevention and treatment.
  2. To assess international health care systems and identify multidisciplinary oncologic challenges in resource-poor settings.
  3. To develop the skills necessary to implement sustainable oncologic care and cancer prevention systems abroad.
  4. To improve internationally collaborative research efforts by offering educational opportunities in basic science and clinical research methods, research ethics, and global health topics.

The Burden of Cancer

The World Health Organization reports that within the next five years, cancer will become the leading cause of death in Tanzania, and responsible for more deaths annually than HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis combined. Currently 96% percent of the known cancer cases in Tanzania receive no treatment. Without effective treatment, the patient dies.
Watch the Video

Global Health Rotation Initiative

Beginning in 2015 the ARRO GHSC established a Global Health Rotation Initiative. This program aims to facilitate international rotations for radiation oncology trainees around the globe. The organization, logistics, institutional approval, costs, liability coverage, and all other aspects of these rotation will need to be arranged by the rotating resident in cooperation with their home and destination institutions. Use the website and login below to access a list of established rotation sites, which have agreed to host visiting international trainees. We have participating sites in every continent. Contact with any questions about funding or otherwise, ideas, or suggestions for international sites that would be interested in participating in this program. If you decide to pursue one of these opportunities, we would love to hear from you at

This program is supported by the ARRO Global Health Subcommittee, the ASTRO International Education Subcommittee, the American Brachytherapy Society International Committee,, and the CARO International Communications Working Group, among other partners. Website: Username: electives Password: Electives_2015

Global Health Mutual Mentorship Program

The ARRO GHSC mutual mentorship program was established for the purpose of pairing Radiation Oncology trainees from different nations in order to foster dialogue and the sharing of ideas and educational resources between individuals who share a mutual interest in oncology and global health.

This informal partnership can take on many forms. At a minimum mutual mentors are encouraged to stay in contact on a monthly basis by email. In the past, participants have utilized such communications to share and discuss: 1) challenging clinical cases 2) differences in practice patterns in their respective locations 3) barriers to effective administration of care and ideas for addressing these. In some cases mutual mentors have extended their cooperation to include collaborative efforts in research, international outreach initiatives, and clinical rotation or volunteering experiences abroad.

As of 2015 the mutual mentorship program included 38 residents from 10 different countries including Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Kenya, Japan, Nigeria, the Philippines, the United States, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. We currently have a short waiting list of US residents awaiting a mutual mentorship match.

If you are interested in participating in the ARRO GHSC Mutual Mentorship Program please contact the ARRO Global Health Subcommittee at:

We have recently updated our privacy policy and terms of use.
By using this site, you agree to ASTRO’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
We use cookies to provide, secure and improve our services to you. To learn more, click here.