By Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
In rounding off the cancer awareness month, the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has announced that in fighting the cancer virus through testing and early detection, she is set to establish state-of-the-art cancer screening centres in each of the six geopolitical zones.
Mrs. Buhari, who was represented by the Senior Special Assistant on Administration and Women Affairs in the office of the first lady, Dr. Hajo Sani, said Saturday at the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Abuja at the flag-off of breast/cervical cancer screening for women to mark year 2020 cancer awareness month.
She said already, one of the centres has been established in Kano and the primary aim is to encourage women, especially those at the rural centres to become aware of cancer and its debilitating effects.
According to her, “The wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has concluded plans to establish state-of-the-art cancer centres in each of the six geopolitical zones. This is because every woman needs awareness on cancer and a reason to be screened.
“The centres will also take cognizance of rural women who might be living in ignorance about cancer awareness. Already, one of the centres has been established in Kano and Abuja will be included.”
The Director-General of the Centre, Mrs. Mary Ekpere-Eta, in her speech, said there exists a scary and disturbing statistics of cancer in Nigeria, hence the urgent need for an integrated approach towards its eradication.
Subscribing for more mammograms in the country with the capacity of screening not less than 500,000 women monthly, the director-general said breast cancer is the most common in Nigeria and followed by cervical cancer.
She said: “Breast and cervical cancer are the two most common female cancers in Nigeria. The statistics are alarming. Nigeria has a population of about 180 million and breast cancer constitute about 12 per cent of all new cancer cases and 25 per cent of all cancer in women.
“On the other hand, cervical cancer which is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus is the second most common cancer in Nigeria and in women constitutes about 21 per cent of all female cancers. It is estimated that about 10,000 new cases are diagnosed in Nigeria and about 8,000 deaths annually.”
She said that breast cancer is treatable, while cervical cancer can be prevented through vaccination using the HPV vaccine which is to be administered to young girls between the ages of 9-13 years old before they become sexually active.