Experts Advocate for Cost Effective Cancer Control Solutions

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Ayodeji Ake

Medical experts have stated that one of the ways of addressing cancer burden in Nigeria is through cost effective cancer control solutions.

Speaking at the 2018 Annual Doctors’ Conference organised by Lakeshore Cancer Centre, held in Lagos recently, the Chief Executive Officer, Lakeshore Cancer Centre, Chumy Nwogu said lifestyle modifications, early and accurate diagnosis, as well as appropriate treatment and palliative care are key ways of reducing the scourge.

He said: “There is a cancer epidemic brewing at our doorstep and we must act now to effectively combat it. Breast, cervical, prostate and colorectal cancers are the four most common cancers currently in Nigeria.

“It has been documented that the burden of non- communicable diseases on the Nigerian population is growing at an alarming rate.”

He explained that given the limited expenditure on healthcare in Nigeria, it is crucial to strive to maximise the impact of cancer control through less financially demanding alternatives that exist.

Nwogu said since our cancer registration is marked under developed, this is probably a significant under estimated of the Nigerian cancer burden.

“There is a compelling opportunity to collaborate with the public and private healthcare institutions, physicians, nurses, pharmacist, allied healthcare workers, researchers, non-governmental organisations and the citizenry at large in other to make a huge difference,” Nwogu said.

A Consultant Clinical Oncologist and Chairman, National Programme on Cancer Management, Francis Abayomi Durosinmi- Etti, said cancer prevalence in Nigeria is on the rise, and that it was becoming frightening.

He noted that, “emphasis in Nigeria should be placed on finding means of supporting cancer patients in cost effective cancer care.

“Cancer treatment is always very expensive for the patients and their families and it is yet to be covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme.

“If the country finds a means of getting the money whether through the NHIS or even some other means of support, then patients can get treatment at a proper price and also service will be kept going”.

Also at the conference, Professor of Surgery and Oncology, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Buffalo, New York, USA, Stephen Edge said breast cancer is a growing problem around the world; especially in Africa presentation is increasing the burden.

Edge added that cost effective solutions for treatment were available such as appropriate use of radiation, lymph node surgery, and use of neo-adjuvant therapy.

He said: “Cost effective approaches must be addressed in the setting of increased efforts to promote early detection and early intervention.”

Similarly, Consultant Laparoscopic Upper GI and Bariatric Surgeon, Euracare Multi- Specialist Hospital in Lagos, Abuchi Okaro, urged Nigerians to consult specialists for proper screening.

He also advised conducting pap smears test and mammogram, noting that early detection will help increase chances of survival.