rarity in some sub-Saharan countries—can affect the availability of
radiation treatment, Balogun says, and it may make sense to delay
upgrading to newer technology, which is more vulnerable to power
supply disruptions. Volatile political situations can also affect cancer
care; in fact, Balogun was forced to postpone her Gabon trip, initially
planned for September 2016, because of instability following an elec-
tion. The delay has been frustrating, but she’s hopeful she’ll be able
to go before the end of this year. She also plans to return to Armenia
and launch a training program in gynecologic oncology, and will set
up a weekly teleconference with doctors in both countries, so she
can continue to advise them from her base in New York.
Throughout her travels, Balogun often reflects on her aunt’s case.
If she’d had access to early screening, if her radiation treatment had
come sooner and been delivered by better-trained medical staff,
perhaps the outcome might have been different. “If she were in a
developed country, would she have survived?” Balogun wonders. “I
do think about that from time to time. I’ve met a number of women
who remind me of my aunt and that I have to keep going, keep
pushing. I couldn’t save her, but maybe I can save them.” n
— Amy Crawford A B B
TREATMENT TOOL: Onyinye Balogun, MD, with a CT machine in the Stich Radiation Oncology Center at NYP/Weill Cornell; she uses it to take images of cancer
patients that will help shape their therapeutic plans.