There is good news to Rwandans who have been spending millions to go for cancer treatment outside the country.
Rwanda will tomorrow, February 4, unveil the much awaited “Rwanda Cancer Center”.
The center, built at Rwanda Military Hospital in Kanombe, Kicukiro district, is a huge addition to Rwanda’s Health Sector.
The center among the biggest health projects announced as early as 2017.
Construction of the Radiotherapy Center was first announced in November 2017 during the African Cancer Conference.
Health Minister Dr Diane Gashumba had predicted the Center to be up and running as early as September last year. But Health Ministry officials told KT Press earlier last month that few more works were undergoing for a successful launch of the center – the first ever in Rwanda.
The country’s only Butaro Cancer Treatment Centre in Burera district, Northern Province does not have Radiotherapy services.
Cancer has become a leading cause of indisposition and mortality worldwide – with approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths every year, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).
In Africa, 60% of cancer cases require radiation, and Rwanda has been sending patients outside the country – mostly India for such medical services.
How Radiation therapy treats Cancer
According to United States’ National Cancer Institute, radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
At low doses, radiation is used in x-rays to see inside a patient’s body, as with x-rays of the teeth or broken bones.
At high doses, radiation therapy kills cancer cells or slows their growth by damaging their DNA.
Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing or die.
When the damaged cells die, they are broken down and removed by the body.
However, Radiation therapy does not kill cancer cells right away. It takes days or weeks of treatment before DNA is damaged enough for cancer cells to die.
Then, cancer cells keep dying for weeks or months after radiation therapy ends.
When used to treat cancer, radiation therapy can cure cancer, prevent it from returning, or stop or slow its growth.
When treatments are used to ease symptoms, they are known as palliative treatments. External beam radiation may shrink tumors to treat pain and other problems caused by the tumor, such as trouble breathing or loss of bowel and bladder control.
Pain from cancer that has spread to the bone can be treated with systemic radiation therapy drugs called radio pharmaceuticals.