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Oncologists seek improved cancer care, treatment, statistics

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Oncologits have called on the need to place more emphasis on childhood cancer even as the country is yet to have statistics on the exact number of cases.

According to them, cancer is the fourth leading cause of death among children under 15 years in Nigeria and hence requires collective efforts to reduce to scourge of the diseases, which is on the rise in the country.

Speaking at The Dorcas Cancer Foundation (TDCF) Cancer Caregivers Workshop, held in Lagos, the Executive Director of the foundation, who is also a Clinical Oncologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, (LUTH), Dr Joseph Adedayo said a lot of emphasis has not being placed on childhood cancer, adding that more children are developing cancer everyday.

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She said if childhood cancer, which has a better prognosis than adult, if detected early, diagnosed accurately as well as properly and promptly treated, the survival rate would be as high as 90 per cent in Nigeria.

Adedayo explained that in order to improve the quality of care that is provided to the cancer patient, the workshop has been organised and projected to help cancer caregivers overcome burnout syndrome so as to improve patient satisfaction as well as focus on how to build real-world and actionable skills that enhance effective healthcare delivery.

“One of the issues we have is delayed detection. We don’t have people presenting early and these children do get sick and present early, but what happens is that they are treated for malaria, typhoid fever and infections and in that process a lot of time is passing by,” she said.

On her part, the Head of Programmes, TDCF and Public Health Physician, Dr Adepeju Adeniran Daodu, stressed that late diagnosis, proper referral system, moving the children from primary to secondary healthcare level, are issues for public health concern, which calls for appropriate system, which should be put in place to ensure that every child with cancer is not misdiagnosed from other ailments.

“Children with cancer should not be seen in a primary health care level, not even in secondary health care level but a tertiary level nor teaching hospital because it is a multiple disciplinary effort, where you have the pediatrician, the pediatric oncologist, the nutritionist, the surgeon in the case where there is a tumor to be removed and so you have several department working on one child and they are happy to do it,” she stressed.


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