By Henry Opondo
Focus on cancer detection, prevention and treatment will form the bulk of the Nigeria’s five-year national strategic plan for control of cervical cancer, a senior ministry official has disclosed.
Dr Ramatu Hassan, the National Coordinator, National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), is quoted by the Press as saying the ministry was working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to train personnel who would implement the strategic plan.
The first port of call of the plan is the cancer registry. According to Hassan, cancer registry, though poorly understood by public, would enable government to ascertain the prevalence of each type of cancer in a given area for effective control.
She said government would concentrate on strengthening the cancer registry to efficiently capture the personnel training for doctors, nurses and other specialties.
According to her, available data with the department indicates that breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostates cancer, colorectal and liver cancer are the common types of cancer in Nigeria.
Hassan said the NCCP had trained cancer registry staff in various hospitals in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
She explained that the data and information generated by trained cancer registry would enable government to establish treatment centres in locations where a particular type of cancer was prevalent.
“The data will also assist government to offer training for specific types of cancer because it will guide government to know where to locate such training,” she said.
Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world, according to WHO, which stresses the need to work on effective control measures.
She assured that most of these cancers were preventable with adoption of healthy lifestyle, adding that some of the major cancers were linked to cigarette smoking.
Obesity, she added, were sometimes linked to breast cancer and alcohol consumption was associated with liver cancer.
“It means that as individuals, we should be able to determine issues that contribute to the control of cancer in the country,” she said ahead of the country’s bid to mark the World Cancer Day set for February 4.