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…says over 26,000 cases ‘re breast cancers

… introduces proton therapy

By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja

At least, Nigeria records a total number of 115,950 new cases of cancer every year, Apollo hospitals in India has said.

The hospital said that the number was for diagnosed and registered cases, stressing that many more got undiagnosed and unregistered.

Out of the figure,  71,000 cancer cases were of female while 44,000 cases were of male.

Similarly, out of 71,000 female, 26,000 plus cases were only of breast cancer.

The hospital also placed  the 5 years prevalence of the scourge at 211,000 cases, adding that Nigeria’s cancer burden was huge.

The deputy General Manager (International Marketing) of the hospital, Mr. Amit Chanturvedi made the disclosures at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday where he educated Nigerians on a new cancer treatment measures called proton therapy.

He said that proton therapy was for improving outcomes of cancer treatment and quality of survivorship.

He said that Apollo received over 100 patients from Nigeria on yearly basis.

He said: “Thanks for taking out time and coming here to attend this. Before I start, I want to share some numbers with you, so that we exactly know what we are discussing here. So we are discussing two things here. One is cancer and second is the treatment. So how big is this problem in Nigeria? Right? So, as per world cancer registry, every year Nigeria has 115,950 new cases, and this number is from registry. Many more got undiagnosed and unregistered. So, every year Nigeria is having 115000+ new cancer cases.

“Five years prevalence is 211,000 cases. Out of 115,000 cases, 71,000 cancer cases are of female and 44,000 are male. Out of 71,000 female, 26,000 plus cases are only of breast cancer.

“So, the cancer burden of Nigeria is huge and we are here to with a solution which can deal with this problem if not completely  but upto a great extent. We are treating Nigerians since many years now. We have a bit extended family of Apollo patient here in Nigeria.

“Every month, Apollo is receiving 100 plus patients in India. But our intention is not only to take patients from from Nigeria to India for that matter or any other country to India.

We believe in capacity building in the field of healthcare of the  country of origin where  patient belongs to. So, for that matter, we have done some tie-ups with some Nigerian public and private sector. We are in talks with national hospital to run clinical programs in collaboration. We are focusing on telemedicine from Nigeria as well.”

Chanturvedi said that they talks with the hospital authorities in both public and private sectors in Nigeria to domesticate the healthcare system.

He added that the cost for proton was $65,000.

“Also, yeah, we are in discussions with many of the public healthcare providers for Comprehensive Cancer Center in Nigeria. So, those talks are also going on.

“Regarding Proton cost, which  somebody asked from Dr. Sapna, the cost of the proton is $65,000. That is a package cost from evaluation to treatment to everything.

“So, the cost of proton as Dr. Sapna mentioned is expensive actually, and we are the only center who have this technique in the whole of Southeast Asia and Middle East. But it’s not the the only option with Apollo groupm. We have all kinds of radiation machines available from CyberKnife to normal linear accelerator to TomoTherapy. So, we give a choice to the patient and is dependent on the patient to choose from all available options.  So, as we have all the options available and under one roof, we give all the options to the patient with the benefit and the side effects. Proper medical counseling done before administrating any treatment so that patient can take an informed decision. So, again, proton is one of the options and not only option.

“We are sharing lots of things in common between India and Nigeria including our culture, our values, the way we respect our elders, you know our economical legions are almost also very, very much similar. Around 80% 85% of the Indians are not able to afford protons, but those who are able to afford, they should know that yes, there is a solution for them. That is most most important”, he said.

Earlier, a senior consultant radiation oncologist from India, Dr. Sapna Nangia highlighted the benefits of proton therapy, saying it was safe.

“Proton therapy has multiple advantages that target tumours and cancer cells with precision and minimal exit dose thus reducing overall toxicity. It also reduces the probability and/or severity of short-and-long side effects on surrounding healthy tissues and organs. It is favorable in treating recurrent tumours, even in patients who have already received radiation”, she said.

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