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The 3rd Kenya International Cancer Conference
The Kenya Society of Hematologists and Oncologists (KESHO) organized its third annual conference from 27 to 30 November 2014 in Nairobi with the theme: Let us talk about cancer. The conference brought together specialists who contribute to the treatment and management of cancer cases. These included haematologists, nurses, oncologists, pathologists, psychological counsellors, radiotherapists and surgeons. The importance of a multidisciplinary approach to cancer management and treatment was emphasized.
In addition, the need to reduce the cost of treatment and address the mass exodus of patients seeking treatment abroad was also raised. Capacity building was also highlighted; this would be done in tandem with acquisition of more diagnostic and treatment facilities in public hospitals in the country. Government was urged to provide incentives for private sector players to invest in the devolved government framework especially in this field. The role of cancer registries was highlighted in helping map the incidences of various cancers in the country. Sickle cell disease and the establishment of a registry was also discussed.
Cancer is among the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that are increasingly becoming prevalent in Kenya. This could be attributed to changing lifestyles and other factors. The cost of treating the disease is beyond reach for many patients and their families. Cost influences clinical decisions on investigations and treatment issues, posing a challenge to clinicians even when the expertise and equipment to provide the best quality care is available in the country, mainly in private institutions. It was clear that both government and private sector have a role to play in addressing the challenges in cancer management; this can be done through public-private partnerships. The experience of setting up a cancer centre as shared by Texas Cancer Center would guide other players in the establishment of similar facilities.
It was clear that cancer management cannot only be handled by clinicians, the patients, relatives and concerned members of the public have a role to play in creating awareness especially on screening and early detection. Advocacy at both local and international levels is also necessary to ensure that resources are made available for addressing the disease.
Challenges faced by clinicians in handling cancers of the breast, colon and prostate together with sickle cell disease were discussed in detail. The interactive discussion sessions provided participants an opportunity to address issues raised in presentations.
The 3rd Kenya International Cancer Conference attracted 13 exhibitors including sponsors:
- Astra Zeneca
- Texas Cancer Centre
- Pema Scientifics
- Acino Switzerland
- Kenyatta National Hospital
The conference brought together 187 specialists who contribute to the treatment and management of cancer cases. These included haematologists, nurses, oncologists, pathologists, psychological counsellors, radiotherapists and surgeons. Challenges faced by clinicians in handling cancers of the breast, colon and prostate together with sickle cell disease were discussed in detail. We attracted over 67 doctors from Kenya and the region and 11 delegates from outside Africa. The % attendance for the 3rd Kenya International Cancer Conference was as follows:
- Nurses and Support Staff
- Local Doctors and Physicians
- Regional and International Delegates