Cancer In marking 2018 World Cancer Day, an expert, Dr Biobele Brown had said that cancer of the eye accounts for 21 percent of all cancers seen in children at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
Dr Brown, who spoke the 2018 World Cancer Day celebration by the Hospital in conjunction with the Association of Radiation & Clinical Oncologists of Nigeria, said cancers remain a leading cause of death among children less than 14 years.
The pediatric oncologist, who remarked that cancer was commoner in adults than children declared that globally 2 percent of cancers are recorded in infants and children. Although the commonest cancer in children is Burkitt lymphoma, he stated that its incidence is becoming reduced in many cities such as Kano and Lagos and Ibadan due to improved malaria control measures.
The expert, who noted that at least 84 percent of children survive from cancer, however, decried delay in seeking appropriate diagnosis and care of these cancers.
He said even when parents report early to the hospital, often time delay occurs more at health facility due to the limited facility and inability to pay health bills.
Dr Abass Abdus Salam, also a consultant radiation oncologist said although about 50 percent of all cancers will need to have radiotherapy, no hospital in Nigeria meets the minimum requirement for the treatment of the condition.
According to him, “radiation treatment is in CONSTANT CRISES in Nigeria. There are only 8 hospitals with megavoltage external beam machines in Nigeria. Only one centre has a functional HDR brachytherapy equipment and these centres are bedevilled by constant down times.”
“this had contributed to horrendously long waiting time, the poor outcome of treatment and many people dying without taking any treatment. Often, patients travel long distances away from home to access suboptimal treatments and there are a high mortality and morbidity rates among our cancer patients.”
Given that cancer is a very traumatic diagnosis and its treatment is very expensive, Dr Abdus Salam urged that government should endeavor to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients by providing improved treatment opportunities at subsidized rates.