Leukaemia Advocacy Group Launched

CHRONIC MYELOID Leukaemia Advocates of Ghana (CMLAG), a non-for-profit organisation aimed at creating awareness and supporting patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia in Ghana, has been launched.

The advocacy group, comprising doctors, patients and members of the public, would focus on supporting patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia and their relatives by sharing knowledge and best practices while running joint campaigns and educating advocates.

CMLAG would also provide a platform for patients, family, friends, researchers, physicians and donors to come together to discuss clinical and non-clinical issues and treatment advances for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia.

Furthermore, information about patients’ experiences, psychological issues, new research, clinical trials, and discussions of current treatment practices and alternative treatments would be made available by the group.

Chronic myeloid leukaemia is an uncommon type of cancer of the blood cells and bone marrow.

In CML, the bone marrow produces too many white cells called granulocytes. These cells gradually crowd the bone marrow interfering with normal blood cell production.

Dr Benneh Akwasi Kuma, a consultant haematologist and a member of the advocacy group said, ‘Our course is driven by the fact that people do not know about the disease and most of our patients are coming in late.

As time goes on without treatment, the disease becomes more aggressive and difficult to treat.’

She noted that people suffering from the disease and are not receiving treatment might suffer symptoms such as hearing defects while others have bloated stomachs that tend to be misconnected as pregnancy.

According to the association, close to 100 cases are recorded each year with almost all on medication. Individuals between the ages of 40 to 70 years have the tendency to acquire the disease, but emphasis is not placed on hereditary.

She, therefore, urged the public to visit the hospital regularly when they find abnormalities in the health for early detection and treatment of diseases such as chronic myeloid leukaemia.

By Angela Dzidzornu

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