HomeHEALTHExperts Promote Guidelines For Cancer Management To Harmonise Treatment

Experts Promote Guidelines For Cancer Management To Harmonise Treatment

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The Director of Clinical Services, National Hospital Abuja, Dr. Badejo Olawale, has said that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for the management of cancer patients will harmonise cancer treatment.

Olawale was peaking in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on Tuesday at a one-day conference on the “Uptake of the NCCN Harmonised Guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa”.

The conference organised by the hospital in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and the American Cancer Society, the summit focused on Breast Cancer as the pilot.

With the uptake of the guideline, according to Olawale, a lot of confusion and disharmony in the treatment of cancer will be dispelled.

“What we have is a situation where people do things from their own perspective and at the end of the day, there’s lots of confusion.

“The guideline helps you irrespective of the amount of resources you have to practice within a set goal such that if all you have in your centre are surgeons and no radiologist, your surgical practice will fall in line.

“Even if the patient has reasons to go to a place where there are facilities, you would not have done harm to that patient, they will just take it off from there.

“So, it’s beneficial to the practitioner in terms of guides, beneficial to the patient in terms of safety and getting the best possible care in the care spectrum across the different disease types,” Olawale said.

Olawale said that the guideline, which was available for all the cancers, also help patients seeking information to take instructions and know what questions to ask in the course of the management of that disease.

He explained that it helps families to be able to prepare for the next best thing in the management of the disease and at the end of it all brings out the best outcome irrespective of the level of resources available in that region.

The Head, Radiotherapy and Oncology Department, Dr. Uchechukwu Shagaya, said that the summit was organised to commemorate the World Cancer Day, which is marked on February 4 every year.

“The theme is ‘Closing the Care Gap’. However, over the years most people do awareness and we the oncologists, surgeons and doctors who manage them should do the preaching of the care gap within the caregivers.

“So, we decided to launch an uptake on the harmonised guideline, we want to ensure that the management of cancer is harmonised and we are using standardised guidelines.

“The guideline talks about prevention of cancer all the way to palliation. It talks about the work up, the tests that should be done, how it should be diagnosed, and how it should be treated.

“What to expect on the side effects of the treatment and then the outcome of the treatment as well as the follow up of the treatment,” Shagaya said.

On his part, the Convener, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) Professor King-David Yawe,Multi-Disciplinary Tumor Board, said that, with the training, care givers have been empowered with knowledge to know where help can be obtained.

“That help is in various ways, help from the point of view of diagnosis, from the point of view of treatment and the various modalities of treatment.

“What we are aiming at in this programme is to equip all of us who are managing breasts and other cancers in one way or the other to be able to know where we can drum up support anytime we need.

“So, you will find that you don’t have to keep a patient waiting in your place for a long time. You can very quickly transfer that patient or refer that patient to where that service is immediately available.

“That way, you will be able to treat the patients on time and therefore be able to prolong their lives,” Yawe said.

On the brachytherapy machines for the treatment of cancer inaugurated by the Federal Government in five tertiary hospitals across the country, he said that it was an excellent development.

According to him, the facilities will draw in a large proportion of patients who did not have it available at all.

“I think it is a very innovative and futuristic idea by the Federal Government. It’s not yet enough because we want to see that patient do not have to travel long distances to have this facility administered.

“However, I think it’s a step in the right direction. I can tell you, when I became a surgeon, there was only one centre in this country offering any form of radiotherapy but 39 years down the line I see as a lot of innovations.

“The private sector is also involved in making available radiotherapy facility,” Yawe said.

He, however, urged the Federal Government to sustain the tempo and provide more of such facilities around the country to indeed close the gap.

Brachytherapy machines were inaugurated on Monday to aid the treatment of cancer through radiotherapy.

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