The Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) has appealed to corporate organisations and other stakeholders, to support the hospital to establish a radiotherapy facility to enhance the treatment of breast and other cancers.
It also urged stakeholders to help the hospital establish an all-in-one comprehensive breast cancer centre, furnished with all relevant logistics to make treatment easier and improve compliance.
It said the cancer facility would help to treat patients in the Central, Western and all adjoining regions, many of whom relapsed and died due to their inability to access radiotherapy services.
Radiotherapy (radiation therapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours.
In the treatment of breast cancer, patients whose breasts are not fully removed are required to undergo radiotherapy to avert a relapse.
Also, in advanced cases where the breast is wholly removed, the chest is radiated to prevent the cancer cells from growing back
Dr Michael Nortey, the Lead Clinician of the Department of Surgery, observed that there were only two radiotherapy facilities in Ghana established at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH)
He told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that consequently, there were often long queues and frustrationsfor which reason many patients failed to comply with doctors' advice to go for the therapy.
He maintained that the lethal nature of breast cancer coupled with the high numbers requiring radiotherapy, made it critical to establish a radiotherapy facility at the CCTH to expand access.
"Because a lot of women come in very late, they will need adjuvant treatment which includes radiotherapy and there is no facility in any of the regions apart from Kumasi and Accra," he stressed.
"You can imagine referring somebody from the North-East and all the other regions to Cape Coast and we must forward all of them to Accra, where there are long queues, this delays the treatment and that is not the bestThere is so much pressure on the machines in Kumasi and Accra and they break down quite often" he added
Dr Nortey, a specialist general surgeon, appealed to the government to subsidise the high cost of radiotherapy treatment to mitigate the burden on patients and reduce mortalities.
"The cheapest you can get is GHS9,000 or GHS12,000Our plea is that just as they have done for the chemotherapy, they should try and come halfway for radiotherapy as well,he pleaded.
"Sometimes, there is a lot of default because patients get frustrated visiting different regions and facilities for different tests and treatment for the same disease.
"In this hospital, you can have your mammogram, ultrasound, chemotherapy, plastic surgery and other treatments done but they are not in one building," he said.
Dr Nortey expressed worry that many patients reported late which made treatment difficult.
He therefore urged the public, particularly women 20 years and above to examine their breasts every month and immediately report any changes they may find.