Prof. Bissallah Ekele, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), has advised Nigerians to ensure regular screening for cancer-related symptoms for early detection, prevention and treatment.
Ekele, who made the call on Monday during an advocacy visit by the wives of six governors at the teaching hospital in Gwagwalada, said a ‘Stich in Time Saves Nine.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governors’ wives included Kebbi, Adamawa, Kwara, Benue, Ogun and Jigawa States.
“Early detection is one of the strategies in cancer management since it is difficult to treat when they reach advanced stages in a patient,” he said.
According to him, late presentation of most cancer cases in the hospitals had remained the major challenge in the treatment and management of the disease.
“We have breast and cervical cancer for the women and prostate cancer for men; these are the common diseases in our environment.
“Cancer has a lot of financial implications, the poor and the rich suffer from it and when it comes to the poor unless support comes once in a while.
“So, my advice is that we must all get close to health facilities, our doctors, physicians, nurses and follow guidelines available for preventing cancer cases,” he said.
The CMD urged Nigerians to always seek relevant health information as that was crucial to having a healthy lifestyle.
The expert decried the general lack of interest in voluntary health check-ups in the country, saying that the situation has often worsened minor health challenges.
On behalf of her colleagues, the Kebbi governor’s wife, Dr Zainab Bagudu, said the rising cost of cancer treatment and poverty has been a major impediment for several patients to afford treatment in the country.
Mrs Bagudu, who is also the Founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation, explained that early detection and early treatment save lives and some people got diagnosed on time, but lack of funds hampers their survival chances.
She called for the creation of strategic cancer intervention organisations across board for improved awareness and to scale up cancer treatment and prevention in the country.
However, she called on relevant stakeholders from different organisations to join hands with the traditional institutions in the fight against cancer in the country.
NAN also reports that N1 million was donated to 10 cancer patients to help cushion their hardship at the facility.