Make prostate cancer treatment affordable - Dr Yarney

BY: Elizabeth Nyaadu Adu

The Head of the Medical Centre for Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Joel Yarney, has called on the government to make prostate cancer treatment more affordable for the public.

While calling for the establishment of more treatment centres across the country to cater for the rising number of cases, he said about 80 per cent of men diagnosed with the disease were unable to afford treatment due to the high medical cost.

“In the coming years, the burden of cancer is going to be higher than it is now and as a country, we need to prepare to manage the non-communicable diseases,” he stated.

Dr Yarney made the call at a health forum on Prostate Cancer Management in Ghana organised by the American Chamber of Commerce - Ghana (AMCHAM) in Accra last Tuesday.

The forum, christened: “Prostate Cancer Treatment in Ghana - Status Quo and the Way Forward”, brought together health experts and business people to discuss ways to provide and sustain prostate cancer care in Ghana.

Dr Yarney explained that the probability of people developing prostate cancer was increasing in tandem with the country’s population.

Delayed diagnosis

Dr Yarney said factors such as poor cancer awareness, financial and logistical barriers were some causes of delay in cancer diagnosis.

He said the current prevalent rate of prostate cancer and any other cancers were as a result of late detection, adding that “poverty was the main cause of the rise in prostate cancer as patients turn to traditional treatment due to the cost involved”.

Way forward

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, acknowledged the challenge prostate and other cancer patients in the country faced.

He commended AMCHAM for the discussions on the disease, adding that the discussion on the management of prostate cancer in Ghana had come at a better time when the ministry and stakeholders were in the process of implementing the Non-communicable Disease and Universal Health Care road map.

“These would touch on accessibility and affordability of care, leaving no one behind, including prostate cancer patients,” he stated.

Mr Agyeman-Manu said the ministry would await the report and recommendations from the forum to inform the government, particularly in areas of access and care and funding for prostate cancer.

“Your proposed recommendations would enrich the strategies we would be developing for cancer care in general,” he added.