Nigeria has the highest cancer death rate in Africa, says Okoye
The Founder of Breast Without Spot (BWS), a non-governmental organisation, Prof Ifeoma Okoye, has disclosed that Nigeria has the highest cancer death rate in Africa.
While identifying unaffordable medical bills, associated with late presentation, is one of the major drivers for the high morbidity, Okoye added that late presentation itself is tied to the people’s fearful perception that cancer, especially breast cancer, is a death sentence, due to the poor survival statistics.
She said BWS would today hold a Go Pink Day today in Enugu, noting: “BWS started in 2008, with focus on breast cancer, because breast cancer is the most common cancer in Nigeria, accounting for one out of four cancers, with 70 per cent mortality rate.
“Community engagement through awareness and sustained teaching of screening recommendations, in addition to creating sustainable means of funding cancer care, are required to ameliorate the increasing cancer burden in Nigeria, change survivorship statistics positively, and thus the narrative.”
She disclosed that October 5 every year has received the endorsement and approval of the Federal Ministry of Health, as Nationwide Go Pink Day in Nigeria since 2015, with the aim of increasing awareness on cancer prevention and imperativeness of screening for early detection.
The theme of this year’s campaign was ‘Just ONE, Can Make a Difference’ and the venue is Sunshine Towers, Independence Layout, Enugu.
She added that the main target of the BWS initiative has been to promote actions and policies that would ensure women in Nigeria are aware of and practise best breast and cervical healthcare and have access to screening and care, and men have access to screening for prostate cancer, regardless of where they reside and their ability to pay.
“To successfully execute these programmes, BWS requires funding partners to support the Breast Cancer Patient Treatment Trust Fund (BCPTTF) and to produce the BWS Cancer Prevention Manual for NYSC Cancer Control Advocates, the BWS Cancer Information Booklet, the BWS BSE banners and BSE fliers and to mobilise BWS volunteers- healthcare professionals across the country, who are active members of BWS,” she stated.