The World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted that Nigeria is among Countries that will witness an increase of 75% in deaths from Cancer-related diseases, due to late diagnosis and poor health care system.
While commemorating the World Cancer Day earlier this week, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, acknowledged the end of the three-year “We can, I can” Campaign, which was aimed at how individuals can take actions that would help reduce the impact of cancer on sufferers, families and the communities.
Although there has been some recorded progress with the campaign, she iterated that more needs to be done, as an estimated 8.8 million persons in the world die from cancer yearly (1 in 6 deaths).
“The cancer death rate is expected to double by 2030. 75% of cancer deaths in the world are recorded in low- and middle-income Countries such as African member states, partly due to late diagnosis. Fewer than 30% of low-income countries have access to cancer diagnosis and treatment services.
“In 2015, approximately 35% of low-income Countries reported the availability of public sector pathology services, relative to over 95% of high-income countries. On the other hand, cancer referral systems are often unavailable, resulting in delayed access to care.
“The cancer burden in Africa is projected to rise on account of the ageing population, chronic infections, unhealthy lifestyle choices and risk factors. About a third of cancer deaths are due to preventable risk factors such as overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Often, such choices are influenced by forces beyond the people’s control, such as the availability and more affordable cost of unhealthy foods, and the strategies employed to market tobacco and alcohol. When detected early, cancers are easier to treat with less expensive, invasive procedures and technologies”.
WE CAN, I CAN campaign
The “We can, I can,” campaign kicked off World Cancer Day 2016, scheduled to end World Cancer Day 2018, is aimed at exploring how everyone – collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.
Just as cancer affects everyone in different ways, all people have the power to take various actions to reduce the impact that cancer has on individuals, families, and communities.
Dearth of Pediatric Oncologists
Founder, The Dorcas Cancer Foundation, Dr. Adebayo Joseph, has decried the shortage of Cancer Children specialists (Pediatric Oncologists) in the Nation while emphasizing this as a factor for the increased number of Pediatric cancer-related death cases.
“On prevention (sic), I believe first step is early detection. Cancer in children is not common. The second step is getting the right expert to attend to them. For the fact that I’m an oncologist doesn’t mean I can treat children with cancer, we need a Pediatric Oncologist to look after them. Those are specialists in children cancer”.