The Chief Medical Director of University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Prof. Darlington Obaseki says the hospital has procured a brachytherapy machine they would speed up the treatment of cancer.
Obaseki disclosed this Monday in Benin, at a public lecture to mark this year’s world cancer day.
He said: “We have taken delivery of what we call the brachytherapy machine. This is a special machine that uses radiation to treat cancer. The federal government has graciously provided one for us.
“We have over the past one year, built and dedicated a fifty-bedded ward for treating cancer patients.
“What that implies is that, a specialist attention that is required across different specialty for nursing care, pharmacy care, radio oncology care, surgical oncology care, they domiciled around that place.
“What that means is that, hitherto before now, patients with cancer who needed this service travel very far, at a stage, we were going as far as Maduguri and Abuja to get this treatment.
“That has brought down the cost of this drug to the individual patient to as much as ten the previous cost,” Obaseki said.
What we are now doing, is to taken this awareness campaign to our people and let them know that cancer can be preventable disease, it is curable and it is not cause by witches and wizards or mysterious things.
We know the causes of cancer and that when they are brought early to the hospital, they can be treated.
President of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile, in his speech, said cancer deaths in Nigeria is still one of the worst in Africa, with an estimated 70, 327 cancer deaths in 2018.
According to him, “This is attributable to low awareness and poor attitude to cancer prevention, poor facilities for cancer screening and early detection, inadequate treatment facilities and higher incidence of cancer types with poor outcome.”
While calling for urgent scale up of the implication of the national cancer control plan 2018 – 2022, Faduyile said there was need for urgent intervention for cancer screening and early detection services.
He said; “This is very important to reduce the proportion of patients that present with advance disease associated with poor outcome.
“We implore the government to ensure timely completion on ongoing projects on cancer treatment to increase access to treatment and ensure a progressive reduction in the incidence of cancer and cancer-related deaths in Nigeria.”
He therefore called for the inclusion of cancer control and treatment in services covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Head of Radiotherapy department of UBTH, Dr. (Mrs.) Lucy Omosefe, said that over 100,000 Nigerians have cancer annually and about 80 percent of them will die from this disease.
“Cervical cancer kills one woman everyday, 40 women die of breast cancer everyday, 26 men die of prostrate cancer everyday,
“So, this is a wake up cry because we know that here in Nigeria, late presentation is a problem, people come late. We are here to tell the world that early detection is key. The theme is I am and I will. I am and I will fight cancer,” she said.