Wednesday, July 18, 2012


We see a lot of cancer here at Mbingo.  God has blessed us with a great team to help treat many of those cancers.  Many of the treatments involve surgery and/or chemotherapy and still others are palliative as they present too late or we don't have the necessary technology or drugs to treat them.  Some of the cancers that we treat are: Burkitt's lymphoma, Wilm's tumor, retinoblastoma, osteosarcoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, testicular cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, prostate cancer, Kaposi's sarcoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, breast cancer, colon/rectal cancer, and choriocarcinoma.  We don't have an oncologist here, so we have all learned a lot about how to treat cancer as we are often the ones to decide on the treatment plan and sign the chemo orders.  We also rely on assistance from consultants in the US and and occasional visiting oncologists to help with protocols or more difficult cases.

 These are our outstanding chemotherapy and palliative care nurses.  Harriet, Frieda, and Judith work hard each day to deliver chemo, discuss treatment plans with patients, help them find funds for the expensive chemo drugs, or just spend time with a patient with a difficult diagnosis.  They see people cured of cancer, battle side effects of drugs, but also sit with them as the realize they have an untreatable cancer.  In fact, they were part of a group that just won an international award for delivering palliative care in the third world.

 Chemotherapy is expensive by Cameroonian standards, but most families are able to work together to pay for the treatment.  For most children's cancers, there is a grant that pays for much of their care, which is a huge benefit to the patients and their families.

 This is Angela doing a bone marrow aspirate on a child in the pediatrics ward with JR assisting.  Bone marrow biopsies are another procedure that none of us did at home, but we do regularly here.

 This is Rick Bardin at his microscope.  He is an internal medicine doctor and pathologist who has been here for 2 years and previously worked at a missions hospital in Nigeria.  He is here with his wife Debbie who is a nurse in the HIV/TB clinic.  Rick is a great doctor and a valuable resource.  Having him here allows us to do fine needle aspirations of almost any mass (often with ultrasound guidance if in the abdomen) as well as have surgical pathology and do bone marrow biopsies and have high quality reports to guide our treatment.  The patients benefit in so many ways from his work.

 This is our current chemotherapy room which we have outgrown.  A new one with 10 beds is about to be finished, but in the meantime, chemo is given in this room with EGDs done beside.  This picture shows Judith (nurse) and Mbanga Evans (resident) giving chemotherapy.  Dr. Mbanga is a 4th year resident currently on his chemotherapy month and sees every patient that receives chemo.  It is busy but a great learning opportunity.

 This was taken on a recent hike into the mountains above our house.  It was cloudy, but the sun broke through just enough to highlight the mountain which we refer to as "Half Dome".  The resemblance to the peak in Yosemite is more striking from the side.

 Some kids walk their dog, but here Isaac is showing how he walks Chocolate, the horse.  Don't worry, Angela was close by supervising this outing.

Isaac continues to make new friends wherever he goes.  We were recently invited to Paul's house to visit and Isaac played with his two kids, Max and Maxilene.  Paul is a driver for the hospital, but has also become a friend as we have gotten to know him and his family.

Thanks for following and sharing our adventures at Mbingo Baptist Hospital with us.


  1. "they were part of a group that just won an international award for delivering palliative care in the third world"- Congratulations to your hospital! That's really amazing. Thinking of the care I've seen in other areas of the world, I am struck every time I visit your blog by what a blessing this hospital is to the community there.