On 17/Jul/2019 / In Articles
The President, Society of Oncology and Cancer Research of Nigeria, Dr Clement Adebamowo, says being diagnosed with cancer is not the end of life.
Adebamowo, in Lagos at a multidisciplinary cancer management course organised by the SOCRON in partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said, “We need to let our people know that cancer occurs in Nigeria just like other parts of the world and it does not mean the end of life.
“With appropriate care, someone can live a better life. Early presentation is important, many of these cancers don’t make you have a fever, vomit or experience body pain but they are deadly.”
Adebamowo urged the executive and legislature to increase funding for the health sector, especially cancer care.
A professor of General Surgery at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Terna Yawe, said there were a lot of factors responsible for delay by the cancer patients in presenting themselves early to hospitals for effective treatment.
“Some of the factors are from the patients themselves. You know, local views about the disease, spiritual bearing, the fact that we need to pray for everything, our beliefs that everything has a cause and that the cause may be nothing to do with medicine but some individuals. Of course, there are potent issues of money; you don’t go to the hospital without money. It is almost like a cash and carry system now. So if you don’t have the money you don’t go to the hospital.
“Where patients are staying is another factor; those in the rural areas don’t get enough experts to attend to them, and those in the city have problems accessing care because experts are concentrated in few hospitals,” Adebamowo said.
He said there was the need to have a robust health insurance policy that covered the majority of the population as the current health insurance policy covered only five per cent of the populace.
Also, the Director, Breast Health Global Initiative, Prof. Benjamin Anderson, urged the Nigerian government to raise the level of awareness about cancer and early detection.
“Part of what we observed in some of the countries we were privileged to work in was that the majority of health workers at the primary care level don’t know what breast cancer really looks like. So they send the patient away rather than doing the diagnosis.
“Sometimes the surgeon makes a mistake by throwing away the tumour they cut out. They forget that when they cut it out, they only remove the problem, in which when it comes to treatment, the first thing will be to analyse the tumour and figure out the type,” Anderson said.
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