Thandeka Moyo, Health Reporter
MPILO Central Hospital in Bulawayo has since November last year failed to offer radiotherapy services to scores of cancer patients.
The institution last offered radiotherapy last November and was forced to install uninterrupted power supply batteries which are yet to be connected for radiotherapy services to resume.
Radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours.
Cancer patients should access treatment regularly to stop the cells from multiplying which often leads to difficulties in treatment or deaths.
When radio thereapy was stopped, about 150 cancer patients from the southern region which includes Bulawayo, Midlands, Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South provinces were on treatment.
In an interview yesterday, Mpilo clinical director Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said radiotherapy was expected to resume soon.
“We are waiting for technicians from South Africa to connect the UPS batteries so that we resume radiotherapy services,” said Dr Ngwenya.
He said at the moment the hospital is only offering chemotherapy treatment.
Dr Ngwenya said about 100 patients were on chemotherapy which is the treatment of cancer using chemical substances, cytotoxic and other drugs.
“When we last administered radiotherapy, we had about 150 patients accessing the service. I would like to apologise to the patients who were denied treatment for a year and assure them that in the next few weeks we will resume the service.”
Recent statistics show that more than 60 percent of patients being attended to at Mpilo Central Hospital Cancer Unit and other public institutions have stage three and four cancers.
At this stage, the cancer would have advanced so much that it is virtually incurable.
Stage three and four cancers require palliative treatment which is only meant to treat symptoms or ease pain until the patient dies.
Last week the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) signed an agreement with UK based International Forum Association on Breast Cancer Surgery to train nurses in oncology in the next four months.
The nurses will be trained in the UK and they will return home to train other nurses in Matabeleland on the early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
In an interview, chairperson of the forum Mr Richard Rainsbury said the project is aimed at reducing incidents of women reporting late for treatment.—@thamamoe