Written by Williams ABAH

World Cancer Day: 72,000 die annually - FG

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that the number of deaths caused by cancer in the country annually is 72,000 while about 102,000 new cases of cancer are recorded annually.

This frightening statistics came just as the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has also expressed worry over what it described as low implementation of Nigeria’s cancer control action plan, during their public lecture held in Abuja in commemoration of World Cancer Day.

Osagie, who spoke at a press briefing in Abuja to commemorate the day, noted that statistics on the occurrence of the disease is at higher rate.

He however, said that strategies have been put in place by the government to ensure the preventable one are eradicated.

Ehanire said for a number of factors there is an increase cancer cases in the Niger Delta area of the country.

The minister said government was partnering the American Cancer Society and Clinton Health Access Initiative to make 16 chemotherapy medications available at 65 per cent cheaper than the current market cost.

According to him, common cases of cancer included lung, liver, pancreatic cancers and brain tumours cancers.

Ehanire said that the plan to partner with American Cancer society, was launched on October 29, 2019 with seven teaching hospitals participating in the programme.

According to him, the health institutions are Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria; Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos; National Hospital, Abuja; Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile Ife; University College Hospital, Ibadan and university teaching hospital Enugu.

He said, projections from Globocan show that lower-income countries were home to 57 per cent of new cases and 65 per cent of cancer deaths in 2012.

He added that their share of incidence is expected to increase to approximately 70 per cent of the predicted 24 million people who will be diagnosed with cancer annually by 2050.

According to the Nigeria National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan 2018-2022, cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year with an estimated 102,000 new cases of cancer annually.

The top five cancer burdens in Nigeria are prostate, liver, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, colorectal and pancreatic for the male and breast, cervical, liver, lolorectal and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the female. Of these, breast and cervical cancers are responsible for approximately 50.3 per cent of all cancers in Nigeria.

The president of NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile, also spoke at a public lecture organised by doctors to mark this year’s World Cancer Day in Abuja, lamented that Nigeria presently has about 115,950 new cancer cases and an estimated 70,327 cancer-related deaths in 2018.

He described the situation as very disturbing since the affliction is largely preventable through life style modification, vaccination and early screening tests.

He acknowledge the efforts of the federal government in addressing issues relating to cancer treatment in Nigeria. He said NMA is concerned about the low rate of implementation of the Nigerian Cancer Control Plan 2018-2022

Faduyile said NMA would recommend the setting up of cancer treatment centres in all the six geographical zones of the country.

In his words, “We are midway into the time frame for implementation of the plan with little progress made. We are worried that there is no clear national policy on cancer which is very important to drive the activities and actions needed to prevent cancer and its attendant morbidities and mortalities.”

On her part, the wife of the Kebbi State governor and the founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Hajia Bugudu, said Nigeria has one of the highest burden of cancer in the world.

She said that so many African countries have started intervening successfully by embarking on effective cancer control programmes in their countries like the HPV vaccination and national cancer screening programme.

In her words, "We have been unable to start proper implementation of the plan. This is a source of concern for those of us that work in that area.

“It is not because we lack the funding to do it, it is done in haphazard way. The vaccine is available if you pay for it but it is not done in an organized way and as a result of that, the disease will continue to rage and we will be unable to control it properly. We have the funding to certain extent but there is lack of political will to see things through,” She said.



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