Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has said early detection of cancer remains the key to effective treatment and management of the disease.
Speaking at an event to mark the 2020 World Cancer Day, at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, National President of NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile, lamented the increase in the number of cancer-related deaths globally and in Nigeria, stressing that despite the fact that 30-50 per cent of these cancer diseases are preventable, another 30 per cent of the deaths can be avoided by early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Faduyile, who was represented by the Abia State chairman of NMA, Dr Carol Iwuoha, explained that information from World Health Organization, WHO, showed a progressive increase from 12.7 million in 2008 to 14.1 million in 2012 and 18.1 million in 2018, indicating an increase of 5.4 million new cases in 2018 compared to the new cases observed in 2008.
He said the association acknowledged the efforts of the Federal Government at addressing issues related to cancer treatment in Nigeria but is particularly concerned on the low rate of implementation of the Nigerian Cancer Control Plan 2018-2022.
He said there was no clear national policy on cancer, which is important to drive the various actions needed to prevent cancer and its attendant mortalities.
“Cancer, which has been described as the second leading cause of death globally, accounted for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018, and an estimated 70,327 cancer -related deaths in 2018 in Nigeria.
“We must reverse the trend and contribute positively to influence appropriate response at individual, family, community and national level and we must also raise the pillar of support for those in the fight against cancer and their families.
“The three most common cancers in Nigeria: breast cancer (22.7 per cent of all cancer cases in Nigeria); cervical cancer (12.9 per cent) and prostate cancer (11.3 per cent) account for an estimated 46.9 per cent of all cancer cases.
“They are preventable through appropriate low-cost screening modalities, early detection, diagnosis and the treatment of these cancers will drastically reduce cancer-related deaths in Nigeria.”