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Cancer kills 8.8m people, costs N522tr yearly, says WHO

By Chukwuma Muanya and Stanley Akpunonu   |   06 February 2017   |   5:32 am

PHOTO: istockphoto/ Eraxion

• Journalists Against Cancer in Nigeria get four mobile cancer centres

About 8.8 million people die every year from cancer, mostly in low and middle-income countries because cancer cases are diagnosed too late.This is coming as the total annual economic cost of cancer through healthcare expenditure and loss of productivity was estimated at $1.16 trillion (N522 trillion).

According to new guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), released over the weekend to mark the World Cancer Day on February 4, cancer is now responsible for almost one in six deaths globally and more than 14 million people develop cancer every year, and this figure is projected to rise to over 21 million by 2030.

The WHO noted that cancers, along with diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic lung diseases, are also known as non communicable diseases (NCDs), which were responsible for 40 million (70 per cent) of the world’s 56 million deaths in 2015.

According to the WHO, most people diagnosed with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries including Nigeria, where two thirds of cancer deaths occur.

Less than 30 per cent of low-income countries have generally accessible diagnosis and treatment services, and referral systems for suspected cancer are often unavailable resulting in delayed and fragmented care.

Also, Journalists Against Cancer in Nigeria (JaCiN) has made giant strides in their plans to procure mobile cancer centres in 36 states of the federation plus the federal capital territory (FCT) Abuja.

JaCiN at a summit in Lagos to mark the World Cancer Day said they would be taking delivery of four of the mobile cancer centres by the middle of the year for Abuja, Lagos, Asaba and Port Harcourt. It is estimated that each mobile cancer centre is worth over N300 million ($600,000).

JaCiN is a media advocacy group co-founded by Nigerian Guild of Editor (NGE), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP).

An ocular oncologist and coordinator of JaCiN, Abia Nzelu, and National Coordinator of NCPP, Dr. Kin Egwuchim, called for more awareness programmes with immediate intervention in the fight against cancer to stem the death rate.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has decried the lack of biomedical engineering companies to fix broken cancer treatment machines in the country.The National Coordinator, National Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ramatu Hassan, who made this known yesterday in Abuja, said the country lacked biomedical engineering companies with service centres where spare parts and appropriate personnel are readily available for the repairs and maintenance of the machines.


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