Saturday, October 16, 2021

Ghana: Dying cancer patient saved by historic surgery

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Emmanuel Gbikpo
Emmanuel Gbikpo is a Ghanaian journalist who specializes in Tech reporting.
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The tenacity of health practitioners at Ghana’s premium teaching hospital, Korle- Bu has saved a 52-year old dying cancer patient.

A combination of doctors, anesthetists and nurses spent 10 hours to remove a Pseudomyxoma Peritonei tumour from the patient who had days to live.

The joint team of experts used what is called Cytoreductive surgery and intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemoperfusion to remove the live threatening cancerous tumor.

Intraperitoneal hyperthermic chemoperfusion (HIPEC) is a type of hyperthermia therapy used in combination with surgery in the treatment of advanced abdominal cancers.

HIPEC involves the infusion and circulation of anti-cancer drugs in the peritoneal cavity (abdomen).

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The cumbersome medical procedure was the first of its kind to be performed in Ghana and West Africa.

Historic surgery in Ghana
Team of health professionals spent 10 hours during the surgery. PHOTO: @KBTH_GH / Twitter

Reduced cost of treatment

Not only was the patient saved but it saved the cost of treatment.

Hitherto patients had no option but to seek treatment in advanced countries at a minimum cost of 100 thousand dollars.

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The cost involved in overseas treatment made the rare illness nearly impossible to treat.

Even for those who can afford the treatment outside the county, the absence of a family support system is likely to have an adverse effect of their recovery process.

Cancer surgery in Ghana
The tumor that was removed from the patient weighed 10 pounds. PHOTO: @KBTH_GH / Twitter

Hospital’s reaction

The hospital said in a statement after the surgery that “After removing the tumor, which weighed 10 pounds (4.5kg), the 52 year old patient is back in the ward and doing very well”.

The surgery was led by Dr. Asare Offei with support of anesthetists including Dr. Henry Obaka and Dr. Fred Osei.

Other members are Prince Kwame Amponsah, Regina Hayford, Jemima Akwetey and Kwaku Frimpong- who were operative nurses.

Doctors perform surgery in Ghana
The surgery was performed by team of health professionals from Ghana’s premier health facility. PHOTO: @KBTH_GH / Twitter

In April this year another team of seven Ghanaian doctors performed the first-ever brain surgery in the country, without cutting the skull.

The two-hour surgery was performed with modern equipment and computer software at the Euracare Advanced Diagnostic and Heart Centre, a private health facility in Accra.

That was led by an interventional radiologist, Dr Benjamin Dabo Sarkodie. The other doctors were from the Stroke Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Euracare.


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