THE BIG WAR AGAINST CANCER IN NIGERIA: HOPE IN THE HORIZON


WCD 2017

February 4 every year is set aside as World Cancer Day, the universally designated day to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer.

World Cancer Day for the three years 2016-2018 is taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can’ and explores how everyone can collectively or individually do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

This is important, given the fact that cancer is a global epidemic. The global cancer epidemic is not only huge but is set to rise. Currently, one out of every three persons will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime and it is projected that by 2030, one in every two persons will be diagnosed of the disease in their lifetime. More than 14 million people develop cancer every year, and this figure is projected to rise to over 21 million by 2030.

World Health Organization (W.H.O.) latest data shows that worldwide, cancer is now responsible for almost 1 in 6 deaths globally. Each year 8.8 million people die from cancer. Sadly, about two-thirds of these deaths occur in developing countries like Nigeria.

According to the WHO, over 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer annually, and about 80,000 die from the disease; this comes to 240 Nigerians every day or 10 Nigerians every hour, dying from cancer. The Nigerian cancer death ratio of 4 in 5 is one of the worst in the whole world.

The good news is that many cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to common risk factors, such as tobacco smoke, excessive alcohol intake, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, unhealthy diet, infectious diseases like Hepatitis B & C as well as Human Papillomavirus among others. In addition, a significant proportion of cancers can be cured, especially if they are detected early.

To combat the cancer menace in Nigeria, the National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP), a nongovernmental initiative of mass medical mission, is currently scaling up its impact by establishing a structured and organized, mobile system of preventive cancer care and health promotion, through the use of Mobile Cancer Centres (MCC). The MCC will not only tackle the common cancers but will also target several common diseases that are risk factors for cancer, including Diabetes, Renal Disease, Obesity, Malaria, Schistosomiasis, Helicobacter pylori, Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, Human papillomavirus and Hypertension. Cancer and these ten related diseases kill more people in Nigeria than all other causes of death combined.

The pilot phase of this campaign will commence in the second half of this year in four of the old regions of Nigeria, namely: East (Port Harcourt), Mid-West (Asaba), North (Abuja) and West (Lagos). The first set of Mobile Cancer Centres for this phase has been ordered from the United States of America and is being expected whilst the base centres from which the MCCs will operate has been established. When the pilot phase commences, each of the states would be divided into smaller units such that every community in the state would be reached by the Mobile Cancer Centre at least once a year. The schedule for the community outreach would be communicated to the general public in due course.

mobile cancer centre

M C C       MOBILE CANCER CENTRE

This significant and monumental achievement in the Big War Against Cancer in Nigeria was made possible due to the united and concerted actions of public-spirited Nigerians, especially the several ‘Centurions’ (National Philanthropists), Mr. Jim Okechukwu Ovia (Nigeria’s only Titanic Centurion), Chief Modupe and Mrs.  Folorunsho Alakija, Dame Winifred Nwaukpo Akpani, Mr. Tonye Patrick Cole, Sir Kessington Adebukunola Adebutu, and others, under the auspices of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria). Several political leaders also rallied round this cause, including, His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, SAN, GCON, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Dapo Ambode, FCA, the Governor of Lagos State.

As we mark World Cancer Day 2017, these philanthropists are shining examples of the fact that ‘We can; I can’ make a difference to the BIG WAR Against Cancer, if we join hands together.

The short-term goal of the BIG WAR is to acquire and deploy 37 Mobile Cancer Centres, one for each state and FCT Abuja, whilst the long-term goal is to establish one Comprehensive Cancer Centre in each of Nigeria’s geopolitical zones.

Together, We can; I can take action to reduce the cancer burden in Nigeria!!!

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