As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark Cancer Day, Project PINK BLUE, a Non Governmental Organization has stressed that early detection is key in the fight against Cancer.
Runcie Chidebe, Executive Director of Project PINK BLUE and convener of the 2019 world cancer day in Nigeria decried the number of cancer deaths recorded in Nigeria adding that the deaths would have been prevented if there was an early diagnosis of the disease.
Chidebe made this known in Abuja on Saturday where hundreds of people gathered at Transcorp Hilton hotel and marched for at least four kilometres.
Chidebe explained that the eessence of the exercise is to create awareness and to get everyone involved, including Government and private sectors.
“we want everyone to be an advocate for cancer by that way we can create more awareness we can have more lives. Every one of us have a role to play in reducing cancer burden.” He said.
He added, “In Nigeria according to the World Health Organization, WHO, over 115,00 people actually had cancer and out of them over 72,000 of them died of this disease.
“This number is really huge and we can make a difference. The way we can make a difference is for all of us to be cancer aware.
Chidebe further informed that a free breast cancer, prostrate cancer and cervical cancer screening will be provided to at least 1,000 people as part of activities to mark the day.
“The idea is to find cancer early, early detection is a collective effort, and it’s not just about early detection, but early detection and treatment is what sablves lives.” He said.
However, Chidebe while stressing on the importance of early detection and treatment worried that cancer treatment is highly limited in Nigeria adding that most Nigerians cannot afford the “expensive” cancer treatment.
He also regrets that Health Insurance Scheme in Nigeria has not done much in alleviating the burden of cancer patients.
He said, “early detection and treatment is what saves lives. But, how many Nigerians can afford cancer treatment. The Nigerian health insurance only covers about one per cent of Nigerians, how can we live in a country where health insurance is actually not mandatory, but vehicle insurance is mandatory? What is our priority in this country.”
He therefore charged Government to take intentional action in curtailing cancer, “because we are losing out mentors, we are losing our fathers, mothers, children, to a disease that the other part of the world are curtailing. Chidebe said.