FG: Cancer Kills 72,000 Nigerians Yearly

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Minister of state for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

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 also recorded yearly.

The frightening statistics came just as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has expressed worries over what it described as low implementation of Nigeria’s cancer control action plan.

The minister spoke at a press briefing held in Abuja to commemorate the 2020 World Cancer Day.

While giving statistics on the occurrence of the disease, Ehanire said there is an increase in the number of 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 current market cost.

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

Also at the briefing were the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunibe Mamora, and the heads of health agencies in the country.

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. 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”. he said.

The president of NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile who 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 listed some of the common cancer aliments in the country to include, breast cancer, (22.7 per cent), cervical cancer (12 per cent), and prostrate cancer (11.3 per cent).