A consultant oncologist with University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) Dr. Eriba Lucy Omosefe has posited that early detection is key to cancer treatment and cure. She made the statement at 2022 International Cancer week in Nigeria, with the theme “Bridging the Cancer Care Gap” improving Diagnosis and Multi-Disciplinary Management.
She explained that the event was an avenue for stakeholders in cancer management to discuss and look at what is ongoing and what should be done to actually relate with diagnosis, the treatment outcome (positive) of the patient. She also said that stakeholders share ideas about their different centres about how things are going on.
She noted that there are some centres that have challenges in accessing chemotherapy. And she believed that by the time the stakeholders are through with deliberation on such issues, they would come up with solutions to such challenges.
Dr. Omosefe pointed out that her center has been able to develop cabinets for preparation of chemotherapy drugs whereby the patient does not have to pray for one hundred milligrams of the drug if it is fifty milligrams they need. They said the drugs normally come in a 100ml container.
And by this, a patient can only pay for what they need and avoid throwing away the other half. According to Dr. Omosefe the process is effected under a sterile environment. And that the issue of patients not being able to afford their drugs is becoming a thing of the past.
She said the narrative has changed as there is support now from many quarters, like the government, establishments. She noted that with the coming onboard of Cancer Health Fund (CHF) there would be more support to cancer patients.
She expressed some hope for indigent patients whose experiences of paying for drugs from their pockets seemed horrifying. She said that by the time CHF is fully operational by supplying sufficient drugs, it will really go a long way to ameliorate the problem of accessing chemotherapy and other treatments like targeted therapy.
She also talked about causes of cancer. She said that there is no known cause of cancer in the world and that Nigeria is not an exception. She explained that there are what are called risk factors that are specific for different malignancies.
They said that the commonest malignancy in Nigeria and all over the world remains the breast.
She said there are many risk factors and that some of them are modifiable, and some are not modifiable.
The unmodifiable factors according to her are the age of the patient, but she said there are now some cases among the younger ones. She said being a female is a risk factor.
She said that family history can make one vulnerable if the BRCA one and two genes are in the family. This she said can make first relations like the mother, sister and daughter more likely to come down with cancer.
The modifiable ones she said are smoking, alcohol, obesity, physical inactivity. She noted that treatment of cancer is different for different malignances. She therefore advised that individuals should make a conscious effort to modify their lifestyle.
Dr. Omosefe posited that early presentation, early detection is key to better treatment and management of cancer. She said that when cancer is detected early. the likelihood of it being cured is very high.
And her message is “Early diagnosis saves life. Early presentation saves life. And overall good and quality treatment which is mainly times subsidized; reaching out to the unreached also saves lives.
NGOs and government should embark on Cancer awareness campaign – Ijamilu Aliyu
The cancer registry from Gombe State has advocated that NGOs and government should embark on cancer awareness campaigns in order to let those who have cases come forward for proper diagnosis and treatment. He made this statement during the International Cancer Week in Abuja.
The theme of this year’s event is “Bridging the Cancer Care Gaps; Improving Diagnosis and Multi-disciplinary Management.” It took place at the NAF Centre, Abuja.
Speaking to our correspondent at the event Ijamilu Aliya said that awareness creation is very important so that people with symptoms can come up for diagnosis and early detection, which he believes helps in getting the patient treated and probably cured. He noted that the most prevalent cancers among females are breast cancer and prostate cancer among male.
He revealed that the greatest challenging issue about cancer treatment is the finance and unavailability of some of the cancer drugs. He said that in his base, at times patients come for treatment and it will take two to three days before their drugs could be provided. Aliyu said that he will take home from cancer week.
He said it has advocated for awareness creation by stakeholders so that people will present themselves for diagnosis and early detection. Early detection, he said, will prevent the spread of the disease to the third stage. He said that when cancer is detected early, it will be easy to handle.
Among the things he is going back with from the event is the issue of awareness creation so that patients will go for early diagnosis and treatment. He then said that NGOs and governments should embark on awareness creation.