Experts bemoan deficiencies in Ghana’s cancer care, treatment 

Experts in the cancer treatment ecosystem have expressed concern about Ghana’s high cancer patient mortality rate as a result of inadequate cancer care and treatment.

The experts, who included health professionals, academics, and policymakers, stated that poor data collection, lack of a cancer registry, and insufficient policies and health facilities was a serious concern throughout the country.

According to the International Research Agency for Cancer the overall cancer incidence rate Ghana is 120.4 percent of 100,000 people per year, whereas the overall cancer fatality rate is 82.6.

These issues were highlighted at the Trust Hospital Cancer Care Academy, which was held in Accra on the topic “Closing the Care Gap: Advancing Cancer Care through Education and Collaboration.”

The three-day event brings together all essential players from Ghana’s cancer care and treatment ecosystem to discuss cancer-related issues.

Dr. Florence Dedey, a senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Medical School’s Department of Surgery, stated that Ghana’s cancer care and treatment policies and data were insufficient and clearly out of date.

“Currently, the existing policy used in cancer care and treatment in Ghana is the National Cancer Control Plan, which was supposed to span a period of time from 2012 to 2016. This policy is out of date, as there has not been any review in recent years. There is also a challenge of limited data, and the probability of the figures for cancer is being underestimated,” she said.

She advocated for an effective cancer registry to close the data gap for cancer patients in the country, allowing for cost-efficient interventions, research, and surveillance.

Dr. Wallace Odiko-Ollenu, a representative of the Ghana Health Service, also highlighted some of the country’s cancer care and treatment inadequacies.

 He stated that inadequacies in the areas of financing, healthcare personnel, education, and information exchange drove cancer sufferers to seek treatment from quacks.

Dr. Wallace added that education and collaboration were vital in improving cancer care and treatment in Ghana, bringing essential insights about cancer to patients.

“Every successful health-care system relies heavily on education. For the patient, this includes having access to full information about their diagnoses, treatment options, and available support services. It also empowers patients to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare, “ he said. 

He advocated for interdisciplinary teamwork among health professionals to facilitate early identification and intervention in cancer.

Dr. Ollenu also urged health workers to stay up-to-date on emerging cancer treatment technologies and trends.

Dr. Mary Efua Commeh, Chief Executive Officer of the Trust Hospital, spoke on the importance of hosting the three-day event, stating that it provided an opportunity for both health professionals and non-healthcare professionals to learn.

Source: GNA

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