What you need to know:
- The institute, which has 40 oncology specialists, is eager to upgrade treatment.
The Uganda cancer institute (UCI) has brought in two associate professors from the University of Washington in St Louis to train their radiation oncologists and physicians.
The two associate professors, Dr Baozhou Sun and Dr Tianyu Zhao, shall be training the UCI Radiation Oncology Department on Intensity Modulation Radiation Therapy (IMRT).
Dr Nixon Niyonzima, the head of research and training at UCI, said the professors are here for one week after which a team from the radiation department will travel to the US.
“It is a long term collaboration, but the professors are here for a week to train the radiation oncology department on IMRT. In May, we shall also send a team from here to Washington to train from there as well,” Dr Niyonzima said yesterday.
“This [IMRT] is meant to make the precision of the treatment better and also we shall be able to target and treat more cancers,” he added.
Dr Awusi Kavuma, a senior radiation physician, said since they acquired the equipment, they have been using “2D and 3D treatment modalities” yet the machine has several other advanced technology.
In an interview with Dr Baozhou, he indicated that they have been doing the training online for the past months and the advantages of upgrading are numerous. “In the past few months, we had a collaboration with UCI and we provided online training. This week, we are here onsite to provide training in radio-therapy services. We also managed to treat our first patient with IMRT, which is an advanced radiotherapy technique used in the US, this greatly improves patient treatment outcomes,” he said.
His colleague, Dr Zhao, added: “With this upgrade, we shall have the capability to deliver radiation in more concentrated form and directly to the tumour while sparing the normal tissue, so we have higher control and lower toxicity to the patient.”
The public relations officer of UCI, Ms Christine Namulindwa, in an interview with this publication, said the institute is ready to upgrade treatment.
“So, for this IMRT, we have been using the linear accelerator, but we have been working on the low modalities so they came in to train the doctors on using higher modalities. We are now ready to upgrade to a better form of treatment” Ms Namulindwa said.
Dr Niyonzima indicated that the institute has 40 oncology specialists and there are 11 doctors training here as well as two in Ghana, two in South Africa and one in Kenya.
In January, Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) said it registered up to 7,000 new cases of cancer in 2021, which was more than doubled the 3,000 cases it detected in 2018.
According to available scientific information, cancer can develop at any age but as one gets older, most types of cancer become more common. This is because body cells can get damaged over time and this damage can then build up, and can sometimes lead to cancer.
Information from www.cancer.org indicates that excess weight causes the body to make and circulate more hormones that can stimulate cancer growth.