GE Healthcare has outlined its capabilities in oncology as a key corporate partner for the Trade Mission and Special Event on Medical Technologies for Cancer Treatment, held in Nairobi.

With over 50 years’ experience in the global fight against cancer, this effort builds on GE’s work aimed at tackling the growing burden of non-communicable disease (NDCs) including cancer. It also builds on GE’s recent commitment of USD 500,000 to the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon campaign for partnership programs aimed at reducing the growing burden of cancer in Ethiopia.

In Kenya, cancer is ranked third as the biggest cause of death (after infectious and cardiovascular diseases), contributing to 7% of total mortality annually. Leading cancers in women include breast, cervical and throat cancers while those in men include cancers of the oesophagus and prostate. According to figures, 28,500 new cancer cases are diagnosed annually, while 22,100 people die of the disease in the same period, 60% of which are deemed to be premature.

“Meeting the cancer challenge head-on ranks among the key health priorities of the region’s healthcare providers and to that extent, greater emphasis on screening and early diagnosis coupled with increased public education and improved lifestyle choices are essential. Through its work globally, GE Healthcare is at work here in Kenya and across East Africa to bring its extensive oncology solutions and expertise to help combat cancer,” said Mr. Isaiah Okoth, General Manager of GE Healthcare in East Africa.

Research shows that at least one-third of cancer cases are preventable, GE is looking to increase awareness and vigilance to spread the message of hope to fight cancer.

In September 2011, GE launched an ambitious global campaign against cancer, committing $1 billion of its total R&D budget over the next five years to expand its advanced cancer diagnostic and molecular imaging capabilities, as well as its world-class technologies for the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and for cancer research.

By the end of 2013, more than $525 million had been invested, setting GE on track to meet its five-year commitment. To accelerate progress the campaign against cancer combines the strength of GE’s portfolio of cancer technologies with the innovations born from collaborations with key partners.

From research through treatment and follow-up, GE Healthcare’s oncology portfolio is aimed at providing a broad range of oncology related diagnostics, able to support medical, surgical and radiation oncology care providers. GE’s oncology portfolio includes diagnostic imaging equipment to deliver the information clinicians need to make critical decisions.

In line with efforts to bring innovation to tackle the global burden of breast cancer, GE developed the SenoBright Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM) technology which combines digital mammography, X-ray and a contrast agent to help detect and localize a lesion rapidly. CESM can be used to help confirm findings and localize lesions when screening results are inconclusive and can be performed quickly, potentially reducing the stress of waiting time for many women.

GE is also advancing innovation in other areas of oncology. Most recently in November 2014, GE Healthcare announced a new partnership effort to co-develop new diagnostic techniques and drugs for hepatic fibrosis (scarring of the liver), along with other liver diseases.