Senior Oncologist Dr. Fred Okuku said it is difficult for them to ensure that patients completely stay away from alternative medicine and called for developing such medicine and taking them through proper channels to check their safety. He notes that with the effectiveness of the pumpkin, they are pushing to have this studied and documented.
treating cancer patients at the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) have expressed
concern over the high number of patients using herbal medicine concurrently
with their prescribed conventional medicine or chemotherapy.
The doctors who were sharing experiences in how to efficiently handle the
different kinds of patients noted that many patients will not reveal that they
are actually taking herbal medicines which in the end affects their treatment
Dr. John Black Kabukye says up to 70% of the patients they are seeing have used
or are still using herbal or alternative medicines that is of recent coming in
different forms like tablets and syrups making it hard for them to tell what
effects that would have on their mainstream medicines.
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they are taking”. //
He notes for instance that patients are using pumpkin seeds for neutropenia, a
condition where one have lower than normal levels of a type of white blood
cells called neutrophils. While this works for them, he is worried about the
likely drug- food contraindications since they are not tested for
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be taking place”. //
On his part, Senior Oncologist Dr. Fred Okuku who presented a talk on dealing
with a difficult cancer patient said it’s difficult for them to ensure that
patients completely stay away from alternative medicine and called for
developing such medicine and taking them through proper channels to check their
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herbal treatment together”. //
He notes that with the effectiveness of pumpkin, they are pushing to have this
studied and documented.
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We have noted”. //
Apart from patients that are stuck with herbal medicine, Okuku says the
institute sees wide categories of patients whose treatment requirements differ
including the poor patient, the angry patient, the wiser patient, the
self-distractive patient, rich patient, the give me patient and the very
sick patient in pain among others.
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are different scenarios”. //
Every day, the institute sees an average of 200 patients which is an
overwhelmingly high figure considering that the facility operates with less
than 30 oncologists who are trained on how to specifically handle cancer
patients even as they work with physicians, clinical officers and nurses that
help them deliver care.
Doctors attending the meeting shared experiences of dealing with some difficult
patients who due to religious and cultural beliefs refuse some treatments such
as those that involve blood transfusion which would really change their
treatment outcomes but sometimes succumb unnecessarily.
Okuku urged health workers to never be confrontational with patients since
apart from the debilitating disease, they are dealing with a number of other
challenges including financial break down.
Elsewhere, he says because of its nature, cancer treatment is done in
consultation and involvement of all family members of a patient. But, he says,
some patients wrongly request to hide their diagnosis from their family.