Establishment of effective Population-Based Cancer Registries (PBCRs) is critical to cancer control policies, says Dr Ephraim Ohazurike, a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist.
Ohazurike, practicing at the Oncology and Pathologist Studies Unit, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos, on Wednesday told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the establishment of PBCRs would help at reducing the burden of cancer.
He said population-based cancer registries sought to collect data on all new cases of cancer occurring in a well-defined population from multiple sources.
According to him, an effective population-based cancer registry would also help drive the success of the country’s National Cancer Control Programme.
He noted that current cancer registries were hospital-based which maintain data on all patients diagnosed and treated for cancer at a particular facility.
Ohazurike, however, said that widespread ignorance about cancer and the efficacy of medical treatments among many Nigerians had led to an over-reliance on traditional and alternative remedies for cancer treatment.
He said community members without access to hospital care or who seek treatment outside the hospital system, will not be counted in hospital-based registries.
“We need data; what we have as a cancer registry is hospital-based, we need an effective population-based cancer registry.
“Someone might be in a private hospital being treated for ovarian cancer, another might be in a trado-medical home receiving treatment for cervical cancer, and nobody will know.
“It is difficult to capture because we don’t have a structure that says when you see something like this, take to this place. People just do what they like.
“An effective population-based cancer registry will give a clearer picture of the types of cancer, where they are occurring, and among which populations and communities they are most prevalent,” he said.
He explained that updated, accurate and comprehensive data was crucial to understanding cancer, its treatment and rate of survival.
The Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist said most cancers don’t have a cause, noting that for cancer to exist, it must be either genetic predisposition or genetic abnormalities acquired from the environment.
He advised the people to improve health-seeking behaviour; reduce risk of environment induced cancer by lessening exposure to pollution and radiation; as well as maintaining good diets.