Dr Abdulrazzaq Oyesegun, an Oncologist and Clinical Consultant, Oncology, National Hospital, Abuja (NHA) has stressed the need for early diagnosis of cancer for successful treatment.
He told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that focusing on symptomatic patients and providing care at the earliest stage are highly essential in cancer treatment.
He made the remarks against the backdrop of the forthcoming Feb. 4 World Cancer Day which has “I Am and I Will” as theme for 2020.
The day is celebrated annually to raise awareness about cancer and to encourage prevention, detection and treatment.
The day is the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite in the fight against the global cancer epidemic.
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body, which develops when the body’s normal control mechanism stops working. Old cells do not die and instead, grow out of control, forming new, abnormal cells. These extra cells may form a mass of tissue called tumour.
The consultant, who emphasised early diagnosis, however, said most cases in Nigeria were presented late, making treatment and management frustrating.
He added that most cancer patients in the country would prefer to seek help from spiritualists, rather than seeking medical care.
“The management of cancer in Nigeria is very frustrating in the sense that a lot of patients come late to the hospital at a stage that there is very little or nothing we can do.
“Even when they are detected early, most of them will prefer to seek spiritual or other forms of assistance before coming to the hospital, which most times will be late to manage.
“Even breast cancer that is easier to treat, patients will present themselves late to hospital.”
Oyesegun, who said that NHA has up-to-date facilities for caner management, advised that any unusual growth or lump should be reported to the hospital for early detection and better treatment.
According to him, Federal Government is trying to provide up-to-date cancer facilities across the country.
He said “we have up-to-date cancer equipment in Abuja and Lagos, the plan is for same thing to be extended to all zones in the country.”
He explained that all cancer equipment in the hospital were functioning, noting that the availability had made it possible for people not to travel abroad for treatment.
According to him, some insurance companies are now supporting the treatment of cancer, and wants Nigerians to seize the opportunity.
He said that the only challenge was the lack of manpower, as many doctors seek for better opportunities elsewhere.