In correlation with its mandate, the Oncology Department of the Georgetown Public Hospital
Corporation, (GPHC) continues to expand.
This is according to General Medical Officer (GMO) attached to the Oncology Unit of the hospital, Dr. Latoya Gooding.
Dr. Gooding spoke briefly about the work of the Unit yesterday following the presentation of a recliner to aid the department with its chemotherapy drive.
The chair, which was donated by Audrey Joseph, was added to a line of chairs already utilised by the unit.
During the interview, Dr. Gooding noted that the department currently caters for 12 chemotherapy patients at a time. The department has 12 chairs in addition to the one which was donated yesterday. She explained that the recliners are essential to providing comfort to patients during the chemotherapy sessions.
Gooding told Kaieteur News that while the donation may appear small, it is essential to the care provided by the Oncology Centre. She added that such contributions are welcomed by the department.
“Chemotherapy is a quite rigid treatment, so the idea is to ensure that patient is as comfortable as possible during a session.” At present, Dr. Gooding noted, the unit has more than 100 patients on chemotherapy.
Dr. Gooding said that patients will undergo chemotherapy treatment based on their diagnosis and the facilities available at the unit. She explained that chemotherapy would be administered at intervals during the various sessions.
Dr. Gooding asserted that some patients would come for chemo in the morning sessions based on the regiment needed; they might return for a follow-up treatment the following day.
The GMO explained that on a weekly basis some 55 patients undergo chemotherapy at GPHC.
“The treatment is free; the patients are treated with care and confidentiality.”
She continued that in the past, the unit was smaller, but the work began to expand because of the demand. At present the Oncology Unit has four doctors, three Government Medical Officers, three nurses, consultants, a social worker and a nutritionist.
“We had to move the department to another section of the hospital to facilitate the demand for treatment. We have seen significant growth in the number of persons reaching out for an examination or treatment as well”
Much like other staff in the Unit, Dr. Gooding pointed out that the duty of the social worker is essential to meeting the emotional needs of a patient diagnosed and treated for terminal illnesses.
“The social worker provides counselling for patients and also does house visits to help the patient and their families in coping with the illness.
Pointing to a study on the Cancer Profile Guyana, Gooding noted that the diagnosis for cancer has improved significantly.
“In the past, 80% of those diagnosed with cancer died without treatment, but that has changed now; 80% of the cancer patients are accessing some form of treatment.”
Earlier this year, statistics presented by the Georgetown Hospital outlined that breast cancer has been reduced by 31%, which is a decline from 125 persons diagnosed in 2015 to 86 patients being diagnosed in 2016.
100% of the persons who have been diagnosed with any type of cancer have received some form of cancer treatment at GPHC.
With the recorded growth, the oncology department is slated to have its own building under the hospital’s budget for 2017. The then-CEO, Dr. Allan Johnson had opined that “the department has outgrown their space and this year we will put down [a]separate building for them”.
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