Dr. Juliana Oye Ameh
Dr. Juliana Oye Ameh, Chief Executive Officer of the Trust Hospital

Education and collaboration essential for advancing cancer care - Dr Odiko-Ollennu

Continuous education, communication and information sharing are essential in bridging the gaps in cancer care, according to the Deputy Programme Manager on Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs) at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Wallace Odiko-Ollennu.

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He explained that collaboration among healthcare professionals, patients and their families was crucial for achieving the best possible outcomes in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

He was speaking at the Trust Hospital (TTH) second edition of Trust Cancer Care Academy in Accra on June 12, 2024, under the theme, “Closing the care gap: Advancing cancer care through education and collaboration”.

The Cancer Care Academy serves as a platform for healthcare professionals and stakeholders to share knowledge and improve cancer care education in the country.

The three-day event would include discussions on topics such as the epidemiology of common cancers in Ghana, skin malignancies, the role of pharmacists in cancer care, radiotherapy techniques, and cancer pathophysiology and management.

Education

Dr Odiko-Ollennu noted that education, communication, and support services were necessary for cancer patients to make informed decisions about their health.

“Education is the cornerstone of every effective healthcare system. For patients, it means having access to accurate, comprehensive information about the diagnosis and treatment options, and support services available to them”, he stated.

He therefore highlighted gaps in the healthcare system for cancer patients, such as service delivery, health workforce, insurance coverage, and healthcare financing, which need to be addressed.

Touching on collaboration, Dr Odiko-Ollennu stressed that early detection and prompt intervention by healthcare specialists and patients could improve cancer outcomes.

“Effective cancer care requires a unified approach. Therefore, we need to foster strong communication channels and collaborative frameworks to improve cancer care and save lives”, he added.

Dr. Odiko-Ollennu emphasized the importance of compassion in healthcare, noting that cancer patients are more than just their diagnosis.

He urged healthcare professionals to listen to their patients, respect their choices, and provide emotional and psychological support, alongside education and collaboration efforts.

A 2022 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed over 20 million new cancer cases and 9.7 million cancer-related deaths worldwide.

With a projected 77 percent increase in new cancer cases globally by 2050 and 27,385 new cases recorded in Ghana in 2022, the Chief Executive Officer of TTH, Dr. Juliana Oye Ameh, emphasised the urgent need for education and collaboration.

She noted that the top three cancers affecting men are prostate cancer, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, while for women, the most prevalent are breast cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer.

A 2022 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed over 20 million new cancer cases and 9.7 million cancer-related deaths worldwide.

With a projected 77 percent increase in new cancer cases globally by 2050 and 27,385 new cases recorded in Ghana in 2022, the Chief Executive Officer of TTH, Dr. Juliana Oye Ameh, emphasized the urgent need for education and collaboration.

She noted that the top three cancers affecting men are prostate cancer, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, while for women, the most prevalent are breast cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer.

Dr. Ameh highlighted that in the past two years, the Trust Hospital has screened over 12,000 individuals for breast cancer and over 2,000 for prostate cancer, identifying 13 confirmed cases in 2022 and 19 suspected cases in 2023.

"With this data, we at the Trust Hospital believe that education and collaboration are the cornerstones of progress," she said.

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Advice

The Head of the Surgical Unit and Consultant General Surgeon at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Florence Dedey advise females to screen for cervical cancer by the age of 25.

She recommended that women aged 25 to 65 should have a primary HPV test every five years and a Pap smear every three years.

“Prevention offers the greatest public health potential and the most cost-effective long-term method of cancer control”, she stated.

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