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FG will address challenges facing cancer management – Minister

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The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Tuesday said the Federal Ministry of Health has put in place developing plans to address the challenges facing management of cancer in Nigeria.

Adewole made this known at a symposium on “Cancer in Nigeria’’ organised by the ministry, in collaboration with health experts in the Diaspora and the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba in Lagos.

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“We are developing a plan to address some of these challenges facing the management of cancer.

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“Our data base of all corpses brought into Nigeria showed that about 50 per cent of them died from cancer, followed by renal challenges, multiple cardiac challenges and trauma.

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“So, clearly to me, if we want to stop medical tourism and give life to our people, we need to address cancer.

“In Nigeria, there are six major cancers, which are breast, cervix, colorectal, prostrate, liver and lymphoma.

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“We want to start a programme of highly detective for breast, cervix and prostrate for men above 50 years,” he said.

Adewole said that the major aim of the symposium was to change the narrative of cancer in Nigeria by creating measures that would enhance the capacity to manage cancer.

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According to him, the Federal Ministry of Health will partner with the Sovereign Investment Authority to finance facilities that will be investing in cancer and its management.

“In addition, the Niger Delta Development Authority will also invest in two of the facilities in terms of cancer upgrade.

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“We will also build capacity for treatments, such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, because if we screen and cancer is detected, we must take charge immediately.

“This is why we are investing in some of our facilities in order to upgrade their capacity to manage cancer.

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“As at now, we have machines that break down regularly.

“Our plan is to ensure that each of the centres have two machines, so that when one goes down or is undergoing preventive maintenance, the other will keep on working,” he said.

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Adewole described cancer as a major problem in developing world, saying, “it has been estimated that between 25 and 30 million people are living with cancer worldwide’’.

He said that cancer had been a major cause of death in the developing world due to late presentation.

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“For us in the developing world for many years, the emphasis has been on communicable diseases, infections and so on.

“But, as we begin to change our lifestyle, by eating westernised foods, living a sedentary life, smoking, either primarily or secondarily, we are bound to face cancer as a challenge.

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“When they are detected early, they can be cured, because most cancers, aside from breast cancer, it can be removed either by drugs, radiotherapy or surgeries.

“So, about 80 per cent of cancers literally can be cured through prevention and early detection,” Adewole said.

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In his remarks, Prof. Chris Bode, the LUTH Chief Medical Director, said that the Federal Government of Nigeria was employing some measures to grapple with cancer care.

Bode said that quality of cancer care on in this part of the world had waxed and waned with the various economic and political fortunes of the sub-region.

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“It is hope that the communique from today’s deliberations will inform and enrich our government’s policy on this scourge,” he said.

TheNewsGuru reports that the minister also inaugurated Biomedical Engineering School, Acute Stroke Unit, Blood Bank, Optical Laboratory Building in LUTH.

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