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Article Review: The Cancer Treatment Crisis in Senegal

3 pages
686 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
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Question 1: Provide a brief overview of the article.

This article briefly describes the cancer treatment crisis in Senegal and other French-speaking West African nations, as the only radiotherapy machine that has been relied on since 1989 recently broke down in late 2016. In addition, the machine majorly dealt with only a few cancer scenarios such as head and neck tumors, breast and bone cancer. Patients have been traveling to the neighboring country of Morocco to access treatment at the expense of the Senegalese government, with aid from the Senegal Anti-Cancer League.

Despite the government of Senegal promising four new radiotherapy machines, Dr. Mamadou Diop believes that the government giving more resources in terms of money and time to infectious diseases such as malaria is the main problem affecting cancer treatment in Senegal.

He believes that chronic diseases need to be given as much attention to as infectious diseases and have updated statistics as a major priority.

Question 2: What are the challenges facing the community in this article?

Some of the challenges facing the community in the article include:-

1. Psychological trauma to the patients and their families on minimal survival chances.

2. Economic despair to the patients, their families and the country at large.

3. Poor statistics on cancer number and death.

4. Limited cancer specialists and treatment centers.

5. Governments over prioritization of infectious diseases at the expense of chronic diseases.


Question 3: What are the communication challenges facing healthcare providers in this

Article? How do you use the concepts and skills to overcome those challenges?

Dr. Diop laments poor cancer statistics in Senegal as the main communication challenge, disputing the bigger killer between prostate and breast cancer thus showing parallel information.

According to the United States National Cancer Institute, cancer statistics indicate how many people are diagnosed with cancer and die from the disease each year, those currently living after a diagnosis and their average as well as the number of people alive at a given time after diagnosis.

Concepts and skills used in analyzing data given in terms of statistics are highly critical for policymakers, researchers, governments, and health practitioners to interpret the effect of cancer on the population and to tackle the problems that cancer poses to the society while also gauging the achievements of efforts to tackle cancer.

Question 4: Is the situation described in the article something that could happen here in the

The United States? Why or why not?

The situation in Senegal could never happen in the United States.

BBC News (2017) indicates having one radiotherapy machine for 84,000 people in the US, 1 for 188,000 people in the UK, 1 for every 2.2 million people in India, 1 for every 5.4 million people in Kenya and 1 for every 23.2 million people in Nigeria as per the statistics of 2010. In the article, it is indicated that Nigeria has 18 machines with 11 broken down while the USA has 2500 machines with 65+ meant for pets.

Question 5: What areas in the US are facing the danger of inadequate or poor equipment?

Studies show that poor economic situations are relatively equivalent to poor healthcare. Judging by this fact, it is safe to assume areas in poor states such as Arkansas, Mississippi and Kentucky having poor medical access in relation to areas in richer states. However, areas in the US with few radiotherapy equipment are quite difficult to pin out but judging by the latest statistics globally, the USA among other developed nations such as Australia and Canada have the best oncology facilities.

Question 6/7: when you are talking about the effect on peoples lives and families, how do you measure cost? this is a powerful question asked within the article. What are your thoughts on this question?

The powerful question in the article was a concern raised by Dr. Diop questioning the governments priorities in dealing with chronic diseases. In my opinion, cancer takes a heavy toll on both the patient and his/her immediate family, both psychologically and financially. Coupled with huge medical bills, there are other hidden costs that arise, considering that time meant for working is considerably reduced. Thus it is far much more important to deal with chronic diseases in as much as infectious diseases need much-undivided attention.


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