Cancer patients undergoing treatment at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital will in the near future no longer have to struggle for residential accommodation.

The hospital’s Oncology Unit is collaborating with Mayo Clinic, Rochester in the United States and Global Access to Cancer Care Foundation to put up a hostel.

Needy patients and relatives, especially from remote areas will have some respite when the proposed 30-bedroom project, with plans for expansion, is complete.

“The patients who are being treated need accommodation, food, they would have to take care of themselves and they are not capable of getting that here. Those who’re travelling for long distances have limited resources and they’re sleeping on the streets and surrounding areas of the hospital.

“They’re undergoing chemo and radiation and they’re sleeping outside. When your body is going through this treatment, you’d have to take care of yourself,” said Tonya Steiner, Chief Executive of Global Access to Cancer Care Foundation.

The initiative is part of measures to make KATH a  Centre of Excellence for Cancer treatment.

The hospital’s personnel have already visited Mayo Clinic to familiarise themselves with new developments in cancer treatment and care.

KATH will serve as a sub-regional training centre for medical physicists who are crucial in the cancer treatment team.

“The big part of oncology is physics. So to be an effective oncologist or physician you need the support of the medical physicist. The medical physicist is the core team member of the oncology team: they help maintain the radiation machines, they also do radiation planning and safety checks.

“The big portion of having a new radiation machine is the physics background in operating the machine. Most of the training at mayo clinic was geared towards medical physics and the use of the machine itself,” said Dr. Kenneth Merrell, Senior Associate Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Mayo Clinic.