Sunday marked World Cancer Day. The World Health Organization warns cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, second to heart disease, and is responsible for nearly nine million deaths in low-and-middle-income countries.
As CGTN’s Isabel Nakirya reports, critical radio-therapy treatment has resumed in Uganda, after the country’s only machine broke down nearly two-years ago.
A long awaited radiotherapy machine is up and running, allowing cancer patients to breathe a sigh of relief.
The lifesaving medical equipment came just in time for Imelda Kandole, who has been prescribed radiation therapy as a second line treatment.
“When I found out I had cancer of the uterus, I should have removed my uterus earlier, because I left my marriage when I was still young,” she said. “Maybe it could have helped, but I found out late, and I didn’t know I had cancer.”
Imelda still has more than 20 costly treatments ahead of her. She comes from western Uganda and, has had to rent a house in Kampala to receive treatment. It’s a similar story for many patients who come from all corners of the country, who struggle to pay for food, lodging and other necessities.
After two years without a radiotherapy machine, the number of patients lining up is overwhelming. Doctors say they’ve had to extend working hours to be able to treat about 100 patients every day.
The World Health Organization says cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, but rates are dropping in the U.S., in part because of new testing options.
The machine is a huge step in cancer treatment, not only for Uganda, but also for patients from neighboring countries who can access free radiation treatment.
“It’s digital. It’s more accurate and more sophisticated,” according to Clinical Radiation Oncologist Dr. Daniel Kanyike. “It was manufactured on order, after renovation of the building and the bunker, and with help of the International Atomic Energy.”
Uganda’s Cancer Institute receives about 500 new cancer cases annually, and officials say more than half require radiation therapy. The government hopes to buy additional radiation machines to help doctors better manage the disease.
And with further improvements in technology, hope for more patients like Imelda could be restored.
Kathryn Jacobsen discusses cancer risks, treatments and prevention
Sunday marked World Cancer Day. The World Health Organization warns cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide, second to heart disease, and is responsible for nearly nine million deaths in low-and-middle-income countries. Kathryn Jacobsen, a professor of epidemiology at George Mason University, discusses treatment, prevention, and the challenges different countries face.