WHO IS WHO IN RADIATION ONCOLOGY?
From an organisational point of view, radiation oncology in Belgium is governed, represented and supported by a series of ORGANISATIONS. Some of them are listed and explained below.
Representatives of these organisations interested in the BRAVO initiative are cordially invited to contact us to discuss further collaboration.
Individual radiotherapy departments
Departments are always linked to a general hospital. They comply with operational norms set out by the ministry of health, and safety rules managed by the federal agency of nuclear control.
Most radiotherapy departments are led by an entire radiation oncology team. More about the different roles in this team on 'Who is who in radiotherapy?'
The BVRO-ABRO society
The goal of this association is “to stimulate the practice and development of radiation-oncology in the broadest sense, as well as obtaining a fruitful dialogue with other clinical specialities that are strongly implicated in successfully treating (cancer) patients." (From the BVRO-ABRO bylaws, paragraph 4, March 2013).
BVRO/ABRO offers a platform for collaboration between different centres and organises scientific meetings on different levels for both senior and junior radiation oncologists. The association is also involved in preparing national treatment protocols.
BRAVO is cooperating closely with BVRO-ABRO. Please see the BVRO-ABRO website for more detailed information.
The College of Radiotherapy
This is a multidisciplinary group taking initiatives to assure the quality of radiation-oncology in Belgium. The 'college' was installed by the federal government with appointed members (physicians). External experts (e.g. physicists, nurses) are invited. The College also organizes audits and multi-institutional training sessions. Click here for more information.
The VBS/GBS subgroup for radiation oncology
This organisation, under the umbrella of the larger VBS/GBS, represents radiation-oncologists in contact with governmental organisations. The main task is the defence of the role of radiotherapy and of radiation-oncologists in the oncological world, as it is determined by European, federal or regional law. This includes reimbursement issues. The VBS/GBS subgroup for radiation oncology collaborates closely with the BVRO-ABRO, and shares the same board members and president. Click here for more information.
See 'What is BRAVO'.
The federal agency for nuclear control (FANC)
The mission of this governmental agency is to promote the effective protection of the general public, workers and the environment against the hazards of ionising radiation. An overview brochure of their role can be downloaded here. The agency requires radiation oncologist and medical physicists to report incidents. More information on this reporting can be found here (not available in English).
The federal agency for medicines and health products (FAMHP)
This governmental agency regulates the use of medication, but more importantly for radiation-oncology, also medical devices. This also covers the linear accelerators and other equipment used for delivering radiation treatments. Incidents related to the devices can also be reported: see here for more information (materio-vigilance).
The federal ministry of health
The federal ministry of health creates a framework for health care in Belgium. Contact with the radiotherapy world usually goes through one of the federal agencies listed above.
The Belgian Hospital Physicist Association represents the medical physicists that are strongly involved in clinical radiotherapy. A yearly scientific meeting gathers physicists, dosimetrists and the industrial partners offering the required tools. Click here for more information.
American Association of Physicists in Medicine. One of the primary goals of the AAPM is the identification and implementation of improvements in patient safety for the medical use of radiation in imaging and radiation therapy.
The mission of the Association for Nursing staff Radiotherapy and Oncology is to maintain and establish quality care for cancer patients in Flanders. They unite nurses and other caregivers who are employed in the sector. They also provide support to nurses in the practice of taking care of cancer patients.
The Association of French-speaking Belgian nurses and technologists in Radiotherapy.
The Flemish Patient Platform wants to contribute to an augmentation of life quality of the patient and his environment by helping to solve common needs and issues through advocacy on all relevant policy platforms and within all relevant health facilities.
The LUSS is an independent French-speaking federation of patient associations. It wishes to consolidate and support these user associations in their healthcare role and to enable them to participate in health politics.
The European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology is a non-profit and scientific organisation that fosters the role of Radiation Oncology in order to improve patients’ care in the multimodality treatment of cancer.
With over 5000 members in and outside Europe, ESTRO supports all the Radiation Oncology professionals in their daily practice: Radiation Oncologists, Medical Physicists, Radiobiologists and RTTs (Radiation TherapisTs) and the wider oncology community.
ESTRO’s mission is to promote innovation, research, and dissemination of science through its congresses, special meetings, educational courses and publications.
Radiation oncologists, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, radiation oncology nurses and nurse practitioners, biologists, physician assistants and practice administrators comprise ASTRO’s more than 10,500 members, making it the largest radiation oncology organization of its kind. These medical professionals, found at hospitals, cancer treatment centres and academic research facilities around the globe, make up the radiation therapy treatment teams that are critical in the fight against cancer. Together, these teams, treat more than 1 million cancer patients each year.
The European CanCer Organisation is a not-for-profit federation that exists to uphold the right of all European cancer patients to the best possible treatment and care, promoting interaction between all organisations involved in cancer at the European level.
It does this by creating awareness of patients’ needs and wishes, encouraging progressive thinking in cancer policy, training and education and promoting European cancer research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care through the organisation of international multidisciplinary meetings.
The aims of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) are to develop, conduct, coordinate, and stimulate translational and clinical research in Europe to improve the management of cancer and related problems by increasing survival but also patient quality of life. Extensive and comprehensive research in this wide field is often beyond the means of individual European hospitals and can be best accomplished through the multidisciplinary multinational efforts of basic scientists and clinicians.
The ultimate goal of the EORTC is to improve the standard of cancer treatment through the testing of more effective therapeutic strategies based on drugs, surgery and/or radiotherapy that are already in use. The EORTC also contributes to the development of new drugs and other innovative approaches in partnership with the pharmaceutical industry. This is accomplished mainly by conducting large, multicentre, prospective, randomized, phase III clinical trials. In this way, the EORTC facilitates the passage of experimental discoveries into state of the art treatments.
Other scientific organisations
ESTRO, ECCO and EORTC were mentioned above, because their headquarters and roots are situated in Belgium (Brussels). But for many disease entities or treatment techniques, specific scientific organisations exist, usually on an international level.