2 million cancer cases in Nig, with over 100,000 new cases annually – expert
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
Head of Department of Radiotheraphy and Oncology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Aderemi Tajudeen Ajekigbe has said Nigeria is having about two million cancer cases with over 100,000 new cases recorded annually.
Professor Ajekigbe who said this at the Convocation Lecture of The Polytechnic, Ibadan titled “Stepping Out Into The World, Potential Well-Being, Change in Life Style And Cancer Education” urged the Federal Government to instead of allocating Oil BlockS to individuals, give it to cancer to ensure its early detection and management to tackle the menace of cancer disease in Nigeria .
According to the Professor of Radiotheraphy and Oncology, the time has come for FG to, in addition allocate 51% of the gross income of all members of the executive and legislature at Federal, State and Local Government levels to fighting cancer scourge.
Explaining his call for allocation of oil block to cancer treatment, Professor Ajekigbe noted that “a Mevavoltage cancer therapy machine is available for 33 million Nigerians as against four to about 200,000 Australians, saying, “most patients have little or no access to radiation Oncology services”.
“You will see the wonder these deductions will do in early detection of cancer and its management. It is not just the local growth of tumour cells that makes them so lethal, it is their ability to spread directly through invasion and by metastases to other side of the body,” he said.
Professor Ajekigbe said “it is the spread that provides the plethora of clinical problems that arise, just as no two individuals are exactly the same way; although, we can make some broad generalisation from clinical experience”.
Speaking further, he noted that from molecular biology, “cancer is now recognised as a genetic disease where mutations in genes, inherited or acquired result in the transition from a normal to a malignant growth pattern”.
The expert maintained that the drain cancer cost on the nation’s resources through just about 5% of the cancer patients (10,000) that had resources to go abroad where they pay between $10,000- $15,000 per patient for a three to five weeks course of radiotherapy, “this translates to about $100,000,000 (a hundred million dollars) per annum foreign exchange drain, yet, Chemotherapy cost is about 5-10 times the cost of radiotherapy”.