Oncologists have warned that the delay in screening cancer has led to late detection and consequently problems to those with the disease.
According to experts, in every 10 patients diagnosed with cancer, only two are cured as the remaining eight die of the disease and this mostly stems from late detection.
“Many people especially in developing countries have signs and symptoms of cancer but neglect them. They wait for more serious symptoms to appear that they come for screening. In many developing countries, there are no screening protocols and diagnosis to show that such and such a symptom might be cancer,” said Dr. Swapnil Kapote, an oncologist from Jupiter Hospital in India.
He was on Friday morning speaking during a continuing medical education exercise at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala organized by C-Care IHK, Treat Global and Jupiter Hospital, India.
Dr. Swapnil said that whereas most cancers are curable, late detection makes matters worse.
“Most people think cancers cannot be cured but that is a misconception. Most cancers are curable if they are detected early.”
The oncologist from India noted that cancer in in developed stages makes it difficult to be cured, insisting that early diagnosis and detection is key in the fight against the disease.
He however noted that the poor economic status of most citizens in developing countries makes it hard to get the required diagnosis and subsequent treatment for cancer and exacerbating the matter.
According to Dr. Miriam Mutero, the C-Care IHK General Manager, the continuing medical education exercise was part of their three day medical camp where they brought in specialists in surgical, oncology, kidney, spine and orthopedics from India.
Commenting about late detection for cancer, Dr.Mutero said C-Care IHK has wellness programs where they encourage members of the public to test and screen for various diseases.
“During the wellness programs, we are able to screen for common cancers for the breasts and prostate among others as we encourage members of the public to take up checkups to know their health. We advise that members of the public do this at least on an annual basis so that in case of any disease, it is detected early and treatment done early to improve the outcome,”Dr.Mutero said.
She noted that C-Care IHK will be doing medical camps twice a year to bring in specialists into the country to review patients, give second opinions and do continuing medical education to advise doctors on new technologies in the medical world and how to collaborate.
Nadeem Ahmed, the founder and group CEO for Treat Global noted that by bringing specialists from advanced medical worlds like India, they help to share knowledge with Ugandan medical professionals.
“For example in Uganda, there are only 12 neurosurgeons for a population of approximately 45 million. Similarly there are less than 20 urologists for the same population. By bringing in these super specialty doctors to Uganda, we want them to operate here and the cases that can’t be operated in the country due to infrastructure and technology advancement issues can be referred to India,” Nadeem said.
He noted that Treat Global seeks to have a memorandum of understanding with C-Care IHK that will see them come to the country five or four times per year.
“This (continuing medical education session) is an excellent example of training local medical professionals where the experts tell them about the cases they have operated on to the doctors to understand what is happening in the world and the new technology. We have to understand that medical science is something that is changing very fast. There are new technologies and complicated cases are coming up. With their experience, their expertise comes in.”
“We are planning to do online education as well but also shortlisting some doctors and taking them to India for live surgeries with these doctors so that they can understand the Indian health system as well.”