Consultant identifies causes of high cancer mortality in Nigeria

Tomotherapy machine for radiation therapy

Dr Wellington Ohikhokhai, Senior Consultant Radiologist, Zenith Radiological Services Limited and Laboratory, has attributed the high mortality from cancer in the country to inadequate funding of the health sector and lack of equipment.

Ohikhokhai, who made this known in an interview with the News Agency in Abuja, defined cancer as the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body which develop when the normal control mechanism stops working.

He decried the dearth of a simple mammogram used in screening and detecting breast cancer in most health facilities across the country.

“Mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer but they can save lives by detecting breast cancer as early as possible.

“Detecting breast cancers early with mammography also means that many more women being treated for breast cancer are able to keep their breasts.’’

The consultant identified other types of the disease to include anal, bladder, bone, cervical, colon, endometrial, kidney, leukemia, liver, lymphoma, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

“Cancer is an illness like every other illness and unfortunately does not have a cure. However, if it is detected very early, the patient will be able to live longer.

“The way out of this menace is to ensure a proper functioning health system through improved funding and availability of standard equipment for cancer screening and treatment among others’’, he said.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is a public health problem affecting all ages.

It is the second commonest cause of death in developed countries and among the three leading causes of death in developing countries.

WHO reports that about 24.6 million people live with cancer worldwide and 12.5 per cent of all deaths are attributable to cancer.

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