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Health professionals to receive training in new cancer treatment technology

BY: Dickson Worlanyo Dotse
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare (middle), Presidential Advisor on Health, with the management of the Apollo Proton Cancer Centre
Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare (middle), Presidential Advisor on Health, with the management of the Apollo Proton Cancer Centre

Ghanaian health professionals will benefit from a training in proton therapy, a new cancer treatment technology, to enhance cancers and tumors treatment in the country.

An Indian specialist hospital, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre (APCC), which is to carry out the training, is aimed at reducing the cost of having patients travel from Ghana to India to seek medical treatment and to also help build the capacity of local doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

“We are also planning to open an information centre here in Accra, where our team will help patients who want to come to India get medical visas, treatment plans and other enquiries,” a Radiation Oncologist and Consultant at APCC, Dr Nagarjuna Burela explained in a press conference held in Accra.

What is proton therapy?

Proton Therapy is a radiation therapy that uses tiny particles called protons to kill cancer cells.

Protons deliver their energy but do not damage healthy tissues as compared to photon therapy.

Therefore, a higher dose of radiation can be targeted at the tumor without affecting many normal healthy cells.

Proton therapy can be effective in treating many types of tumors, including tumors of the brain, head and neck, central nervous system, lung, prostate and gastrointestinal system.

Proton therapy is often the preferred option for treating solid tumors in children because protons can be controlled precisely. So there is less radiation to normal tissues, helping prevent serious complications and lessening the chance of secondary tumors.

Quality of life

Dr Burela said even though the treatment of cancers and tumors were very important, the quality of life after patients had received such treatments was more important.

He said with the new technology, the mission of APCC was to ensure patients could go back home to live normal and comfortable lives.

“Patients undergoing proton therapy have significantly less discomfort during and after treatment; they are less likely to require hospital admission, tube feeding or treatment interruption,” Dr Burela explained.

Collaboration, private sector participation

For his part, the Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, welcomed the collaboration, saying that the country was ready to put itself in the position to attract medical tourism by building the capacity of health workers.

Furthermore, Dr Nsiah-Asare charged the private sector to participate in the new technology to be able to compete with the public sector and deliver quality healthcare to the populace, as well as create jobs for health professionals.

Experience

Sharing his experience, a patient, Michael Yaw Asamoah, said in April this year, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor which caused him to be partially blind.

He then visited APCC, where he was treated and cured.