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Experts advocate palliative care for cancer patients


Cancer cells

Some cancer specialists in Lagos have called for a holistic treatment of cancer patients through palliative care to improve their quality of life. They are Dr. Abiodun Popoola, a Consultant Oncologist, Mrs. Moji Animashaun, a Radiotherapist and Mrs. Ebunola Anozie, a breast cancer advocate.

The experts spoke at a seminar on “Palliative Care in Nigeria’’ organised by St. Cyril Cancer Treatment Foundation, in collaboration with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). The theme was: ‘Improving Life at all Stages.’

Animashaun, who is the founder of the foundation, said palliative care was not recognised in the country as a mode of treating cancer patients. “Palliative care is the care of patients holistically. The treatment is about treating the minds, bodies, having the right diet and the patient as a whole.

“Sometimes, it is difficult to do all that in the hospital settings. Cancer patients need counseling, type of diet to adopt and other aspects of the patients’ lives. This will help the patients to scale through treatment, have a good frame of mind and respond positively to treatment,” she said.

Animashaun lamented that there was shortage of radiotherapy centres to cater for the large number of people with cancer. “We only have two working radiotherapy centres in Nigeria for a population of about 200 million.”

In her remarks, Anozie, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, Care Organisation Public Enlightenment (COPE), a breast cancer awareness network, urged the Federal Government to provide a comprehensive cancer centre to properly treat cancer.

“Let us have a comprehensive cancer centre; some of us cannot go outside the country to receive treatment; so the government should invest more in the health of its citizens by providing the necessary facilities for various ailments.

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