KENYA – Kenya has hosted the first ever Annual Comprehensive Hematology and Oncology Review (AnCHOR) organized by the International Cancer Institute (ICI) at the Eka Hotel in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
The inaugural conference marked under the theme “Towards Innovation and Advancement in Hematology and Oncology in sub-Saharan Africa” seeks to address new developments in the treatment of cancer and blood disorders.
The AnCHOR conference presented an opportunity for healthcare professionals to discuss cancer cases, access complex treatment strategies and learn from their peers across Sub-Saharan Africa through the Institute’s Virtual multidisciplinary Tumor Boards (VTB).
The conference was graced by Oncology doctors across the African continent who were greatly concerned about the cancer menace as a serious crisis that needs to be addressed urgently to scale down its effect.
The conference focused on Prevention, Screening & Early Detection, Patient Empowerment, Survivorship and Advocacy in Cancer and Non-Communicable Diseases along with strengthening Health Systems and Policies for Cancer and Non-Communicable Diseases Control.
The oncologists further discussed Novel Diagnostics, Drugs and Vaccine Developments in Cancer Therapeutics and Access initiatives in Hematology and Oncology care in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
Chief Executive Officer of International Cancer Centre Dr. Chite Ariswa noted that many patients lack proper diagnosis at an early stage which results to high mortality rates in the region due to diagnosis in advanced stages and access barriers to medical care services.
Dr. Chite Ariswa cautioned healthcare professional against delaying patients biopsy results to enhance early detection of cancer in the early stages with hopes to reduce the cancer burden in Africa.
“Majority of cancer patients have been within the healthcare system for very long before proper diagnoses are made for example a woman with breast cancer consults about eight to ten healthcare professional systems before any diagnosis is made,” he explained.
He maintained that healthcare systems should embrace cancer patients and provide urgent assistance to avoid delays in cancer diagnosis which would otherwise lead to complications and eventually deaths.
Dr. Chite called on the government to improve quality care for cancer patients while noting that there was dire need to raise cancer awareness in remote villages in order to sensitize local women on the importance of early screening before emergence of any cancer signs.
Additionally, the consortium of doctors present at the conference agreed that the government and stakeholders should work together to combat the cancer threat while advising patients to seek early treatments especially screening for proper treatment.