By Gabriel Olawale
EXPERTS in Non-Communicable Diseases, NCDs, management have urged Nigerians to embrace attitude of screening to enable early detection of cancers.
Giving this admonition during the Lakeshore Health Fair, the CEO, Lakeshore Cancer Center, Prof. Chumy Nwogu urged for more focused cancer screening approaches.
Represented by the Consultant Clinical/ Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Mutiu Jimoh, he said cancer screening can detect precancerous changes in some organs and can be treated very effectively to prevent progression to actual cancers.
“At this very early stage, treatment is much cheaper and the chances for cure are much higher than waiting for symptoms to arise. Screening is available for breast, cervical, prostate and colon cancers. Screening options should be discussed with a knowledgeable medical professional.
“Clinical breast examination starts from 25 years and once you approach 40 years you should go for mammography annually.
“For cervical cancer, cytology and HPV testing is good from 21 years while prostate cancer required digital rectal exam and Prostate Specific Antigen testing from 45 years.”
On his part, the Executive Director, Project Pink Blue, Runcie Chidebe said Nigerians attitude to cancer screening could be better and that men are more affected.
“We had prostate cancer screening for 65 men and five had abnormal results. Most men don’t go to hospital for screening, they think cancer is just for women, and that is why many men come down with cancer late.
“Not all patients should be blamed for late detection, some patients present early but are wrongly diagnosed or mismanaged. Nigeria needs to continually invest in cancer care and training of healthcare practitioners.”
Co-Founder, The Bricon Foundation, Abigail Simon-Hart, said there is need for more facilities.
“There is no need of creating awareness if we don’t have facilities to treat people. At the moment we have about eight radiotherapy machines in the country with over two million cancer patients and not all the machines are working.
“We have 60-70 oncologists in the country and not enough oncologist nurses. We need to include treatment of cancer in the NHIS.