By Felicia Imohimi
Abuja – Dr Festus Igbinoba, a Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist, has urged the Federal Government to establish more functional cancer treatment centres nationwide.
Making the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, hesaid the eight centres in the country were grossly inadequate.
Igbinoba is also the President, Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologist of Nigeria (ARCON).
The expert said that such centres should be manned by professionals and equipped with sophisticated machines that could stand the test of time.
He said: “Cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of cells. It can affect almost any part of the body. The growth often invades surrounding tissues.’’
The expert, who decried the agony of patients in terms of travelling distances in search of access to treatment and high cost of treatment, described such challenges as killing more than the cancer itself.
Igbinobo noted that most of the cancer centres in the country were not functional due to lack of sophisticated equipment as well as professionals that could handle such challenges accordingly.
He said that if such efforts are put in place it would assist in ameliorating the plight of patients as well as reduce the disease burden in the country.
Besides, the expert urged the government to strive toward ensuring full range of oncologists in all the centres for assured efficient service delivery in all cancer cases in health facilities.
“Forty per cent of all cancers are preventable if we imbibe by all the preventive measures like healthy lifestyle, eating right, avoiding alcohol and smoking, regular exercise as well as government putting the necessary things in place.
“Generally our attitude toward cancer is not encouraging at all, if things are taking serious and they take cancer treatment as a priority and money is budgeted for it I know we will go places in addressing the scourge.
“Considering the theme of this year’s commemoration. `I can, we can conquer’ means that if we all do our beat in terms of it prevention by avoiding the risk factors and treatment it will go a long way in it curtailment and mortality rate.
“Cancers can be prevented by avoiding exposure to common risk factors like tobacco smoking.
“A significant proportion of cancers can be cured by surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy especially if they are detected early
“Cancer is not as grave as people think if diagnosed early and patients are treated accordingly the survival rate will increase against the popular believe that having cancer is a death sentence,’’ Igbinoba said.
NAN reports that the world cancer day which is observed annually on Feb. 4, dated back in 2000 and aimed promoting research to cure and preventing the disease, improve treatment and raise awareness.