Vol 25, No 5 (2020)
Research paper
Published online: 2020-09-01

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Radiation oncology in Mexico: Current status according to Mexico’s Radiation Oncology Certification Board

Federico Maldonado Magos1, Francisco Javier Lozano Ruíz2, Sandra Ileana Pérez Álvarez1, Onix Garay Villar3, Cesar Cárdenas Pérez1, María Yicel Bautista Hernández4, Gabriela Núñez Guardado5
DOI: 10.1016/j.rpor.2020.06.002
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2020;25(5):840-845.



Describe the results of the first national census of radiotherapy in Mexico in order to make a situational diagnosis of radiotherapy availability, offer more accurate information to radiation oncologists, and promote an adequate scientific based investment for the country.


According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the density of radiotherapy (RT) machines per million habitants in Mexico is approximately 1.7−1.8. Other international organizations such as DIRAC-IAEA report 1.15 per million habitants. National organizations collect data indirectly and previous surveys had a low accrual rate (32.5%). Therefore, a precise census is required.

Material and methods

The Mexican Radiation Oncology Certification Board (CMRO for its acronym in Spanish) conducted a nationwide census from January through November 2019. Gathered information was combined with CMRO database for sociodemographic information and human resources.


The study included 103 RT centers [95.1% answered the survey], with a median of 2 centers by state (ranging from 0 in Tlaxcala to 20 in Mexico City) and with a report of only 1 center in 11 states (34.4%). Fifty-six (54.3%) of the centers are public. Fourteen centers (13.6%) have residency-training programs. The total number of RT machines is 162 [141 clinical and linear accelerators (87%) and 21 radionuclide units (13%)] with a median of 3 machines by state (0 in Tlaxcala to 46 in Mexico City) and with ≤3 machines in 18 states (56.25%). The overall calculated density of RT machines per million habitants is 1.32, varying from 0 in Tlaxcala to 5.16 in Mexico City. The density of linear and clinical accelerators per million population is 1.19. The total number of brachytherapy units is 66, with a median of 1 center with brachytherapy unit per state and 29 states with ≤3 centers with a brachytherapy unit (90.6%). Thirty-seven brachytherapy units (56.1%) have automated afterload high-dose rate. The overall rate of brachytherapy units per million inhabitants is 0.55, varying from 0 in 5 states (15.6%), 0.1-0.49 in 8 states (25%), 0.5–0.99 in 13 states (40.6%), 1–1.49 in 5 states (15.6%) and 1.5–1.99 in Mexico City (3.1%). The Mexican CMRO has 368 radiation oncologists certified (99 women and 269 men), of whom only 346 remain as an active part of Mexico's workforce.


This is the first time the CMRO conducts a national census for a radiotherapy diagnostic situation in Mexico. The country currently holds a density of clinical and linear accelerators of 1.19 per million habitants. Brachytherapy density is 0.55 devices per million habitants, and 57% of radiotherapy centers have brachytherapy units.

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Reports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy