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A consultant at the Department of Haematology at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Amma Benneh-Akwasi Kuma, has expressed worry that most Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) patients seek medical attention at the latter stage of the disease.

“This makes it difficult to treat the disease because at this stage it is almost out of hand,” she said in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, after the inauguaration of an advocacy group to create awareness of CML.

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia is an uncommon type of cancer of the blood cells which typically affects older adults.

Dr Kuma said the department records between 20 and 25 new cases of CML each year.

She attributed the delay in seeking medical attention to ignorance on the part of the patients and said most of them ignored the symptoms when they developed the disease.

Symptoms of CML include fever, fatigue and weight loss.

 Dr Kuma said patients usually mistook the symptoms for malaria or typhoid and ended up either self-medicating or sought treatment for their own diagnoses.

“As a result they tend to take a long time in seeking medical advice. Even though CML progresses more slowly than acute forms of Leukemia, patients can lose their sense of hearing if they do not seek medical attention early,” she said. 

National development
Earlier, at the launch of the advocacy group, Dr Kuma underscored the need to create awareness of CML, noting that most patients were among the working class who contributed to national development. 

“The earlier we can arrest this disease in these people to enable them to continue to give out their quota, the better,” she added. 

Dr Kuma called on other stakeholders to join in the awareness-creation effort to fight the ignorance surrounding the disease.

The advocacy group, known as Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Advocates of Ghana (CMLAG), is made up of medical doctors, researchers, patients, relations of patients and bone marrow donors.

Among others, its objective is to provide a platform for stakeholders to come together to discuss clinical and non-clinical issues and treatment advances for patients.

It would thus organise sensitisation programmes across the country on the disease. Membership is open to all interested persons.

The head of the Haematology Department, Dr Edeghonghon Olayemi, after inauguarating the group in Accra, charged members to be committed and work hand in hand to ensure that their goals and objectives were realised. 
Source: Daily Graphic

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