As the World celebrated the international cancer day last Saturday, the Federal Government said that the focus of intervention has been cancer prevention through aggressive cancer awareness and screening campaigns for early detection.
Speaking at the 2012 World Cancer Day held in Abuja on Friday, the Minister of Health, Prof. Christian Onyebuchi Chukwu, said that the ministry has developed a five-year Cancer Control plan (2008-2013), National Guidelines of Cancer Therapy and the National Cervical Cancer Control Policy as strategic road maps to address the worsening incidence of the disease.
While reeling out the grim statistics of the disease in Nigeria, Onyebuchi said that breast cancer (40.3 per cent) is commonest among women and prostrate (29 per cent) among men in Nigeria.
However, he said that the federal government “has invested funds on primary prevention of preventable cancers through immunization with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) Vaccine and Hepatitis B vaccine for cervical and liver cancer prevention.”
Onyebuchi said that there are plans to include the HPV vaccine in the National Programme on Immunization, a strategy that will prevent 40 per cent of cancers.
He disclosed that the federal government is still seeking ways to make cancer treatment cheaper and affordable for Nigerians.
In her speech, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Fatima Bamidele, said that ministry will increase its awareness campaign and urged everybody to be part of the campaign.
“We will continue to invest in cancer screening and treatment equipment for our tertiary hospitals in addition to our regular free cancer screening campaigns,” she added.
Also, the Coordinator, National Cancer Control Programme, Dr. Patience Osinubi, said that given the expensive cost of cancer treatment, preventive measures remains the best approach towards containing the scourge.
She said that eating healthy food, simple exercises and regular examination are ways to combat the disease.