Around 50% of cancer patients will require radiotherapy (RT) and 10–15% of these patients could be eligible for proton beam radiotherapy (PBT). Dosimetric advantages are undeniable, mainly in pediatric and reirradiation scenarios. Though, PBT facilities are scarce worldwide and the IAEA has reported 116 functional particle facilities, of which 98 are PBT, virtually absent in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The Latin America and Caribbean region represent a unique opportunity for a PBT center, as there are currently no functional facilities and current RT needs are significant. The challenges can be summarized as high initial investment and maintenance, geographic coverage, required baseline technology and certification, over-optimistic workload, unclear rates and reimbursement, unmet business plan and revenue expectations, and lack of trained human resources. Investment costs for a PBT facility are estimated to be at around 140 million euros; therefore, this seems unsuitable for LMIC. Mexico’s geographical advantage, GDP, baseline technologies and high demand for RT makes it an ideal candidate. Nevertheless, a PBT center would account for a third of Mexico’s annual health expenditure for 2020. Enormous efforts must be made by both the private sector and governmental authorities to provide funding.
Part of the book: Proton Therapy