Radiation therapy is one of the most effective and affordable treatments for cancer, yet in countries with limited resources, it is out of reach for many who need it.

In Guatemala, Liga Nacional Contra el Cancer/Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia (LIGA/INCAN) in Guatemala City is the only comprehensive cancer treatment center for the poor and underserved. But with outdated equipment, the center cannot meet the needs of all its patients.

Now, with the assistance of a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/American Schools and Hospitals Abroad, an international team is able to greatly improve cancer care at the institute. The group represents a partnership between LIGA/INCAN and Washington University in St. Louis’s radiation oncology department and Global Health Center, a part of the university’s Institute for Public Health. The team is in the process of buying and installing a state-of-the-art radiation therapy machine at the institute, enabling thousands of patients to receive without delays the same high-quality radiation treatment available in the U.S.

Other partners include BJC HealthCare, Varian and the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration, which is making an in-kind donation by disposing of the hazardous material from the old machine, a critical part of the project’s success.