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Cost of cancer treatment worries patients — Dr Aryeetey

A senior resident doctor at the Radiotherapy Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Dr Naa Adorkor Aryeetey, has observed that the high cost of cancer treatment places a heavy burden on many patients, some of whom are unable to foot their medical bills.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Dr Aryeetey said the high cost of treatment had made many cancer patients abandon the treatment and, therefore, called on the government to establish a National Cancer Fund (NCF) to enable individuals and corporate bodies to contribute towards the treatment of cancer patients in the country.

“ I believe that will be a formal approach to supporting such patients, and that will encourage others to give willingly if they know the money will be utilised properly,” she said.

Dr Aryeetey noted that due to the cost implications of treatment, persons diagnosed with the disease spent more time by Red AdBlocker" href="#">looking for money to pay for the cost of treatment, and that had increased the number of patients who returned to the hospital with advanced cases of the disease, making treatment very difficult.

According to her, as life expectancy increased, more people would be diagnosed with cancer, hence the need to adopt stringent measures to curb the disease.

She was also optimistic that the establishment of a National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) would help bring together a group of professionals who would be more focused to by Red AdBlocker" href="#">seek the welfare of cancer patients.

Additionally,  Dr Aryeetey suggested that there should be premium for the cost of medical care for patients who would require treatment at tertiary health facilities.

Another challenge, she noted, was the stress some patients had to go through before accessing treatment at the health facilities.

“Some cancer patients travel from the Northern Region, Afram Plains in the Eastern Region, and other far away places to access medical care at the Komfo Anokye and Korle Bu Teaching hospitals which adds more cost to the burden of treatment,” Dr Aryeetey added.

She urged the government to develop more cancer treatment centres in the country which would be closer to patients to help reduce the cost.

While encouraging organisations to increase education and awareness of the causes and effects of cancer, she advised the public to have regular screening to avoid having advanced cancer cases, stressing that 60 to 70 per cent of patients always reported to the hospital with advanced cases.