Αρχική World News Cancer in My Community: Working to Eliminate the Stigma of Cancer in...

Cancer in My Community: Working to Eliminate the Stigma of Cancer in Ghana

Cancer in My Community is a Cancer.Net Blog series that shows the global impact of cancer and how people work to care for those with cancer in their region. Verna Vanderpuye, MBChB, is a practicing oncologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana, and a recipient of the 2019 International Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award. Dr. Vanderpuye is also a member of several regional and international cancer organizations, including as a current or past committee member of the African Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the World Health Organization, and the European Society of Medical Oncology, among others. She has authored or coauthored 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and 12 book chapters. You can follow Dr. Vanderpuye on Twitter.

Why I care for people with cancer

I got into cancer care by sheer coincidence. I was at a point where I was wondering what my career prospects were when I came across a scholarship offer for radiation oncology. Not knowing what it was at the time, I did some research at the library and instantly fell in love with the concept. I realized I needed further training in medical oncology, so I decided to embark on that journey, too.

I couldn’t be happier treating and guiding people with cancer who would have otherwise lost all hope. I find purpose in educating them on the disease and managing their symptoms and expectations about their journey. I continue to learn from my patients and gain new insights in the field, and I train others to do so to ensure the sustainability of quality cancer care for decades to come. It is my absolute pleasure to dedicate my life to caring for people with cancer.

What cancer is like in Ghana

For many years, cancer was an unspoken word in Ghana. Even today, the word “cancer” does not exist in many of our local languages. Instead, the words used to describe cancer have been “abomination,” “contamination,” and “immediate death,” which have been fueled by the culture and sensationalism. As an oncologist, I am called the “doctor of death” by some because I emphasize the importance of discussing a person’s end of life. But it is a fact of life to die; this is true for everyone, not just for those with cancer.

Overall, there is a lack of quality cancer care in Ghana, and there are several reasons for this. First, there is a lack of cancer education for health care workers, and quality cancer care is only available in the tertiary hospitals located in the 2 major cities in Ghana. Secondly, out-of-pocket expenses for cancer care are quite high, which limits treatment options for people with cancer, especially for those with advanced disease. And, like many other low- and middle-income countries, Ghana currently has a national health insurance system that is struggling to absorb the costs of cancer care. Last but not least, oncologists compete with alternative medicine practitioners for the trust of people with cancer. We often lose out because we cannot promise to prevent side effects from our treatments.

All the same, Ghana has made positive strides with cancer care facilities and the quality of treatments available. Our example could be emulated by neighboring countries. For example, many health care workers are now aware of the current treatment options available to people with cancer. The stigma of cancer in Ghana is fueled by an absence of interventions, but a lot has been achieved in my country in terms of infrastructure for cancer care.

We still have a long way to go to call cancer care in Ghana optimal. Many people with cancer are still misdiagnosed and miss their opportunity for a cure or cannot afford standard treatments that will improve their outcomes. And, cancer care in Ghana will definitely not include access to expensive cancer drugs that are currently on the market elsewhere. But I believe things will improve in a short while.

Where people with cancer can find local resources and support in Ghana

We have indeed come a long way with patient support in Ghana. We finally have dedicated clinical psychologists and organizations to help people with cancer, including Reach for Recovery, Cancer Connect Ghana, Breast Care International, Ghana Parents Association for Childhood Cancer, Lifeline for Childhood Cancer, the Mmofra Foundation, the Indian Women Association, and many local churches. Many people with cancer also use online resources. However, we unfortunately do not have any government resources. Patient-led navigator and survivorship programs are also not well established in Ghana, probably from the persisting stigma associated with a cancer diagnosis.

The author has no relevant relationships to disclose.



Συμπληρώστε το email σας για να λαμβάνετε τις σημαντικότερες ειδήσεις από το ogkologos.com

Βρείτε μας

2,449ΥποστηρικτέςΚάντε Like

Διαβαστε Επίσης

Καρκίνος και Κορωνοϊός (COVID-19) ΜΕΡΟΣ Α

Εάν είστε καρκινοπαθής, το ανοσοποιητικό σας σύστημα μπορεί να μην είναι τόσο ισχυρό όσο κανονικά, έτσι μπορεί να ανησυχείτε για τους κινδύνους που σχετίζονται...


Η Παγκόσμια Ημέρα Κατά του Καρκίνου καθιερώθηκε με πρωτοβουλία της Διεθνούς Ένωσης κατά του Καρκίνου (UICC), που εκπροσωπεί 800 οργανώσεις σε 155 χώρες του...


ΕΞΕΛΙΞΕΙΣ ΣΤΗ ΘΕΡΑΠΕΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΜΗ-ΜΙΚΡΟΚΥΤΤΑΡΙΚΟΥ ΚΑΡΚΙΝΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΠΝΕΥΜΟΝΑ (ΜΜΚΠ) Γράφει ο Δρ Παπαδούρης Σάββας, Παθόλογος-Ογκολόγος   Ο ΜΜΚΠ βρίσκεται αναλογικά στο 80% και πλέον του συνολικού...

Διατρέχουν όντως οι καρκινοπαθείς μεγαλύτερο κίνδυνο λόγω κοροναϊού;

Σε πρακτικό επίπεδο, τα δεδομένα των σχετικών μελετών υποδηλώνουν ότι η χημειοθεραπεία ή οι άλλες αντι-νεοπλασματικές θεραπείες δεν αυξάνουν σημαντικά τον κίνδυνο θνησιμότητας από...

FDA: Η ακτινοβολία των smartphones δεν προκαλεί καρκίνο

Σε μια νέα έκθεσή της, η Υπηρεσία Τροφίμων και Φαρμάκων (FDA) των ΗΠΑ αναφέρει ότι επανεξέτασε τις σχετικές επιστημονικές έρευνες που δημοσιεύθηκαν τα τελευταία...

Νέα ανακάλυψη, νέα ελπίδα για τον καρκίνο

Ένα νεοανακαλυφθέν τμήμα του ανοσοποιητικού μας συστήματος θα μπορούσε να αξιοποιηθεί για την αντιμετώπιση όλων των ειδών καρκίνου, σύμφωνα με επιστήμονες του πανεπιστημίου Cardiff...
- Advertisment -

Ροή Ειδήσεων

Combining existing drugs improves prostate cancer survival

Adding abiraterone to standard hormone therapy improves survival for men with high-risk prostate cancer that’s not spread elsewhere in the body. “Today’s results are the...

New Combination of Old Drugs Improves Survival in Patients with Prostate Cancer [ESMO Congress 2021 Press Release]

LBA4_PR - Abiraterone acetate plus prednisolone (AAP) with or without enzalutamide (ENZ) added to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) compared to ADT alone for men...

Immunotherapy Prolongs Survival in Recurrent, Persistent or Metastatic Cervical Cancer [ESMO Congress 2021 Press Release]

LBA2_PR - Pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy versus placebo plus chemotherapy for persistent, recurrent, or metastatic cervical cancer: Randomized, double-blind, phase 3 KEYNOTE-826 study N. Colombo1, C....

Woman Diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 33 Launches Self-Examination App

Jessica Baladad has had a long history with self-examinations after a breast cancer scare in her early 20s. This habit helped save her life,...

Extended Adjuvant Treatment with Letrozole Results in Longer Survival in Postmenopausal Patients with Breast Cancer

According to results from a prospective, open-label, phase III study conducted in 69 Italian hospitals within the Gruppo Italiano Mammella among the postmenopausal patients...

Foodie Fridays: Apple Bok Choy Salad

While the temps may still be in the 80’s, apple season is upon us! Give this Apple Bok Choy salad a try!  It is...