Advancing Cancer Care from the United States to Uzbekistan

Just 30 years ago, nearly 27% of hospitals in the country of Uzbekistan didn’t have sewage systems and 17% didn’t even have access to running water. Since the country’s independencefrom Russia in 1991, Uzbekistan has made drastic improvements to its healthcare system to better serve its people – but they still lack a basic system for health insurance, and all care is provided on a fee-for-service basis.

In the complex realm of oncology even here in the United States, our West Cancer Center & Research Institute family has proudly made one of our missions to share research and train oncologists around the world. Our providers often travel to teach and to learn from each other so that oncology care can continuously advance and improve.

With that mission in mind, Dr. Michael (“Mike”) Martin recently traveled to Uzbekistan to meet, mentor and teach chemotherapists, surgeons, professors, residents and medical students. This trip was sanctioned and funded by the United States (U.S.) Department of State under the leadership of the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. The U.S. Mission across the globe encourages international collaboration and cooperation across many disciplines of medicine under the auspices of the Fulbright Specialist Program, among other opportunities.

Dr. Martin is a world-class oncology specialist at West with a passion to serve. Each year, he travels across the globe to lend his expertise to healthcare providers seeking new information, best practices from the United States, and advice on patient care. This year, from April 24 – May 9, Dr. Martin lectured healthcare providers on the following topics:

o Introduction to American Oncology Principles

o Colorectal Cancer (Assisted by Dr. Axel Grothey)

o Lung Cancer

o Breast Cancer (Assisted by Dr. Greg Vidal)

o Pancreatic and Liver Cancer

o Esophageal and Gastric Cancer

o Prostate Cancer (Assisted by Dr. Brad Somer)

o Hodgkin Disease and Diffuse Large Bell Cell Lymphoma

o Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

o Endometrial and Ovarian Cancer (Lectures delivered via ZOOM by Dr. Todd Tillmanns)

These 2-hour lectures reached more than 300 providers and were followed by multidisciplinary conferences, which are a standard practice here at West, facilitated by Dr. Martin and colleagues. During these conferences, residents and doctors were able to discuss treatment plans together for over 100 patients. These meetings helped decide the oncology care plans chosen for each patient utilizing the expertise of providers from various oncology disciplines.

Upon his departure, Dr. Martin started working with a group of Uzbekistan providers to create academic publications and grant applications. These projects are the start of a series of research studies to define the current state of oncology care in Uzbekistan and will ultimately be submitted to international oncology meetings around the world for study and review.

At West Cancer Center & Research Institute, we are dedicated to furthering cancer care not only in the Mid-South, but around the world. To one day rid the world of cancer isn’t just a 9-to-5 job for our West family, it is a passion. We believe Dr. Martin is one of our many West providers that set the standard for world-class oncology care and we are so proud to have him serve patients right here in the Mid-South.