Government declares state of emergency on cancer, 102,000 cases recorded

Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu

• 72, 000 die yearly

The Federal Government has declared a state of emergency on cancer. The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, disclosed this yesterday in Akure at the 20th Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) and the third International Breast Cancer Symposium.

The wife of the Ondo State Governor, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, founded the association 20 years ago, as a platform for interaction, advocacy and policy making.

The minister disclosed that over 102,000 cases and 72,000 deaths are recorded yearly in the country, adding that there was the need to also support the victims while receiving treatment.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Prof. Victor Adetiloye, represented him. He lamented that breast and cervical cancer were responsible for over 50 per cent of the deaths in the country.

The minister explained that the existing National Cancer Control Plan had expired, but stressed that a new has been established.

He said the new plan covers a five-year span, with special focus on seven areas of prevention, treatment, hospice, palliative care and data management.

According to him, the state of emergency and the roadmap for its control followed the high mortality ratio in the country, which is the highest when compared to other countries.

Adewole explained that the Federal Government has begun a process of establishing and equipping dedicated cancer chemotherapy wards in nine federal tertiary health institutions across the country.

He said: “We have developed a new National Cancer Control Plan 2018 to 2022. This National Cancer Control Plan is the product of extensive inter-sectorial collaboration involving government, academia, bilateral and multilateral organisation, as well as the civil society groups.

“This plan provides a clear roadmap on how the health ministry envisions cancer control efforts within the next five years and beyond. Also, for the cancer patients and their families, the plan would serve as a launch pad to reducing the incidents in Nigeria.”

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu promised to partner BRECAN and other bodies to establish a cancer centre in the state to provide essential services on prevention and treatment.

Anyanwu-Akeredolu, who is a survivor of the disease, explained that she founded the association to prove that breast cancer is not a death sentence for women.

She dismissed superstitious beliefs attributing breast cancer to witches and spiritual attacks, which, she said had made victims to seek cure in spiritual homes instead of visiting hospitals for treatment.



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