The executive director for Uganda cancer institute (UCI) Dr. Jackson Orem has appealed to the general public for regular cancer checkups noting that early detection and treatment can defeat the catastrophic disease.
Speaking in a monthly briefing, Dr. Orem said UCI receives 30,000 new patients annually, however are diagnosed with 29000 Radiotherapy sessions, 86400 Chemotherapy infusions, 154,880 Laboratory investigations annually and only 20 per cent people will survive.
“We encourage you to regularly check your breasts, you look out for symptoms such as discharge from the nipples, lumps in the breast and proceed for mammogram,” he said at ministry of health headquarters.
“UCI receive patients from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Eretria. We provide excellent services for cancer patients and this has earned us title of ‘Center of Excellence in East Africa’,” Dr. Orem.
Dr. Orem said the most common cancers (UCI) in Uganda include Kaposi Sarcoma, Cervical, Prostate and Breast Cancer. He said cancer patients are treated with Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy, surgery, palliative care, and immunotherapy.
Since that commissioning of radiotherapy machine in Uganda, Dr. Orem said Shs5billion has been saved in referrals, “prostate and liver cancers are increasing among males while Kaposi sarcoma is decreasing. There is also an increase in esophagus cancer among males,” he added.
Permanent secretary for ministry of health Dr. Diana Atwine implored Ugandans to cherish traditional foods such as boiled cassava, ‘kaalo’. They are healthy, “We need to eat more of our own foods- this helps in preventing cancer. Stop alcohol and tobacco consumption,”
Due to the shooting cases of cancer in the country, the Prime minister of India Narendra Damodardas Modi, made donation of two Bhabhatron II Cobalt -60 machines which will be installed at Mbarara and Gulu regional hospitals.
He said upon the receiving that donation, UCI embarked on training 31 people for Oncology, radiation oncology, pathology that will operate radiotherapy machines.