Concerned by the number of deaths being recorded from cancer-related diseases, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, wednesday said the federal government has begun the process for the establishment of dedicated cancer chemotherapy wards in nine federal tertiary institutions across the country.
The minister disclosed the action of the federal government yesterday in Akure, Ondo State while speaking at the opening of a symposium organised by the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) founded by Mrs. Betty Anyanwun-Akeredolu, the wife of the Ondo State Governor.
In similar vein, Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, said the state would build Cancer Centre in the state in order to tackle the scourge and the attendant consequences.
Akeredolu said the Health Committee of the State Policy Development and Implementation Committee (SPDIC) has recommended the establishment of the centre, adding that the building of the centre would start soon.
The governor, who pledged support for BRECAN, which is celebrating the 20th year anniversary, said architect would soon be contacted to start work on the design of the centre.
Adewole, who was represented by the Chief Medical Director of the Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Prof. Victor Adetiloye, disclosed that not less than 72,000 people die annually from cancer related diseases while 102,000 people are affected by the dreaded disease in Nigeria.
He said breast and cervical cancers are responsible for over 50 percent of deaths in the country adding that the National Cancer Control Plan has expired, hence the need for new one.
“We have developed a new National Cancer Control Plan 2018 to 2022. This National Cancer Control Plan is the product of extensive inter-sectoral collaboration involving government, academia, bilateral and multilateral organisation and civil society.
“This National Cancer Control Plan provides a clear road map as to how the ministry envisions cancer controls efforts for the country to be within the next five years and beyond. Beyond the cancer patients and their families, this plan will serve as launch pad to reduce the incidence and prevalence of cancer in Nigeria,” he said.
Welcoming participants and the audience, Mrs Akeredolu, who is a breast cancer survivor, said breast cancer is the most common one among women and the one that kills more women.
She said the disease, which that people fear most can be defeated if the right thing is done and with right attitude.
Mrs Akeredolu said those who think that breast cancer is caused by witchcraft or by traditional bullets should have a rethink saying any body can be infected.
The BRECAN founder advicated appropriate policy for the treatment of the disease, which she said can be handled if detected early.