Cancer for many is not just a deadly disease, but also it is an arrow sent by enemies. However, the good news is that cancer is treatable. KENECHUKWU EZEONYEJIAKU reports.
In an effort to ensure that many Nigerians are aware of the causes and how to prevent cancer, the Department of Radiation/Oncology of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has reiterated its commitment to bring to an end the high rate of mortality associated with Cancer in Nigeria.
This was part of the reasons the team paid a visit to Ikoyi Baptist Church last Sunday to sensitize the congregation on the need for regular checks.
Speaking, the Consultant Radiation/Oncology and Nuclear Physician, LUTH, Dr. Ololade Kehinde, said, “we are here to sensitize the church, to inform them about the need for those to be screened to be screened, those that have unfortunate diagnosis of cancer to also be treated and to seek appropriate medical attention.”
On how equipped LUTH is to tackle cancer in Nigeria, he said: “We still suffer from infrastructural deficit, in terms of equipment, but manpower, we are getting there. We actually have trained professionals that currently also go all over the world to learn how to handle malignancies.
However, we still have dearth of equipment especially in radiotherapy, but presently, I was informed that the Sovereign Wealth Fund is trying to establish more Cancer centres to ensure they have new facilities and it is ongoing as we speak.”
Also speaking, Dr. Olukemi Alegi, a Resident Doctor in the department noted that the essence of the day’s activity was to move from the level of high mortality rate to the level of low mortality rate and to move people from mortality to survival.
“We want more people to live. The only way we can do this is to detect cancer early. Everybody should check their body regularly. If you notice anything strange, a new lump, a discoloration or you notice blood, in your nose, blood in your urine, seek help immediately, go to the hospital. If you notice a lump especially on the breast or any part of the body, kindly go to the hospital immediately. Cancer is treatable, cancer is curable as long as you come early”.
Alegi who identified superstitious beliefs and finance as impediments for fight against cancer said: “Because we do not have Universal Health Coverage (UHC), a lot of people have to pay out of their pockets. Each basic test cost about N40,000 while the minimum wage is N18,000. So, paying out of the pocket is another major challenge.
“We need NGOs, we need good willing Nigerians to support us in cancer treatment; you can come to our department, whatever you can do, even if it is N2000 that you can give, it will go a very long way in the fight against this deadly disease.”
Alegi further disclosed that Nigeria has a long way to go, noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO), recommended that as a country, we need 142 machines, but currently Nigeria has only eight machines.
“Individuals can assist in the provision of these machines,” she appealed, adding, “at the moment, government is doing a lot to bring in new machines to replace old ones and build new centres. We need the government, NGOs and individuals to support our research.”
She advised people to desist from risky habits like smoking and alcohol intake, adding that people should eat enough vegetables and fruits to boost their immune system.