The wife of the governor of Kebbi State and founder of MedicAid Cancer Foundation, Dr Zainab Bagudu has disclosed that just a paltry five per cent of cancer patients in Nigeria survive.
This means that about 95 per cent of men and women who come down with cancer in Nigeria will probably die.
She said that this is largely due to late detection and low awareness about the disease among the urban and rural population in the country.
Dr Bagudu stated this during the weekend in Abuja in what participants called the largest cancer awareness walk in Nigeria, tagged: “Walk Away Cancer.”
The cancer roadshow and awareness campaign drew participants including representatives of the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, Kogi and Osun states’ governors’ wives, and a host of Nigeria’s sport, music and movie celebrities like Korede Bello and Osita Iheme.
According to her, “In Nigeria, most cancers are detected late, usually at state 3 and 4 and that is why we have just a five per cent cure rate. However in developed countries where it is detected early at stage 1 & 2, they record a 95 per cent cure rate. We hope to gather round and see a way out of this.”
In 2015, the CONCORD-2 programme established global surveillance of cancer survival, with publication of trends in survival from 1995 to 2009 among patients diagnosed with cancer in 67 countries. CONCORD-3 extended the surveillance of cancer trends to include patients diagnosed up until 2014.
The study, published in The Lancet, looked at 18 cancers or groups of cancers: esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, lung, breast, cervix, ovary, prostate, melanoma of the skin in adults, brain tumors, leukemias, and lymphomas in both adults and children.
For women diagnosed from 2010 to 2014, 5-year survival for breast cancer is now 90.2 per cent in the United States and 89.5 per cent in Australia; however, there are large differences internationally, with a 66.1 per cent survival rate in India.
Dr Bagudu noted with sadness that “women always bear the brunt of any health situation because they are not financially able to find and access the solutions and also, the diseases especially cancer are more common with women in Nigeria.”
She said, “We are hoping that we all get together and get some exercise, by doing this, we are setting an example for Nigerian women to exercise regularly. We are also raising funds for indigent cancer patients especially those in the rural areas.
“There is also the awareness creation. A whole lot of people are working today and the reason is that we want people to be aware of the signs of cancer. The earlier it’s detected, the earlier we can treat it.”
Earlier, the governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu noted that the walk was a very proud moment for all Nigerians.
He said, “Six years ago when this project was initiated, it started quietly but today, it is an international event. We are hoping to create a cancer free world. Let us join the bond and the spirit of what we have learned from this event- that everyone can do something about cancer.
“I urge you all to take interest in what you can do to help humanity and certainly we can all do something for humanity today, tomorrow and forever.”
Meanwhile, for the first time, a low-middle income country like Nigeria is being represented in a global body like the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) by Dr Zainab Bagudu. The UICC is the largest cancer control body in the world. It also makes decisions on cancer and has the main goal of eradicating cancer globally.
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