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Governors eye better treatment for cancer patients

Participants on cancer awareness walk along Nakuru Town streets on May 20, 2017. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Participants on cancer awareness walk along Nakuru Town streets on May 20, 2017. Cancer patients will soon get better treatment that does not involve use of chemicals if a proposal by governors sails through. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Cancer patients will soon get better treatment that does not involve use of chemicals if a proposal by governors sails through.

This follows a study visit by a team from the Council of Governors Secretariat to the Texas Centre for Proton Therapy based in the United States of America.

The treatment “Proton Beam therapy” uses an advanced form of radiation treatment that comprises the use of a beam that allows positively charged atoms to precisely target and damages cancer cells within the body.

“The use of proton therapy is a promising way of treating cancer tumours with special attention given to children diagnosed with cancer in that there is less radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissues reducing damage and fewer side effects,” reports the statement.

Sensitive areas

It is also ideal for use in sensitive areas where surgery is not an option
Currently, all cancer patients in Kenya get chemotherapy as a treatment.

This is even as a recent study revealed that chemotherapy triggers multiplication of cancer cells around the body.

The study done in the United States studied the impact of drugs on patients with breast cancer and found medication increases the chance of cancer cells migrating to other parts of the body, where they are almost always lethal.

Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer by the use of chemical substances including cytotoxic and other drugs.

Many patients are given chemotherapy before surgery, but the research suggests that, although it shrinks tumours in the short term, it could trigger the spread of cancer cells around the body.

Top killer

Cancer is the third biggest killer in Kenya and it is estimated that 39,000 new cases are reported each year, with more than 27,000 deaths per year.

Among the leading types of cancer in the country are breast cancer in both men and women and prostate cancer.

Council of Governors chief executive officer Jacqueline Mogeni said the trip was meant to establish how counties can benefit from the modern technology in order to alleviate the suffering of Kenyans.

“We are very optimistic that with the use of the technology, we are going to alleviate cancer once and for all,” said Ms Mogeni.

She said the Texas centre have agreed to offer technical support to counties towards the construction of a Proton Therapy Centre.

“We also discussed how to partner to support counties get investors in the cancer sector and other fields,” she said.

Stage four cancer

The Texas Centre for Proton Therapy does not treat stage four cancer because of the difficulty of killing the cells.

“They look at early stages which is where possible treatment can be done and at late stages, the cells are difficult to kill,” said Mr Mogeni

She said late detection of the disease was the cause of all deaths.

“We are hoping that once we bring the Proton Therapy on board, we will be able to detect more cases of cancer at early stages,”

The main problem in Kenya is the lack of awareness, which is responsible for the late detection of the disease by many sufferers.

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