The Federal Government has restated its commitment to improve healthcare for cancer patients.
Prof. Usman Aliyu, the Director-General of the National Institute for Cancer Research And Treatment (NICRAT), made this known while addressing newsmen in Abuja.
He said that government was making concerted efforts to ensure that cancer patients get better treatment and care against the disease, adding that the government has procured radiotherapy equipment to ensure adequate care for patients suffering from the cancer.
According to him, such efforts on improving cancer care has not been available in most of cancer care facilities in the past, especially in the last ten years.
He said that efforts were being made to provide more sub-radiotherapy equipment across the seven cancer centres nationwide which included linear accelerators.
He said that government would continue to train more oncologists to bridge the existing gap.
Also speaking, Dr Nwamaka Lasebikan, President of the Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologists of Nigeria (ARCON) said that the conference was organised to advocate for better care for cancer patients by addressing the challenges.
”Late presentation of the disease by cancer patients is making care for them difficult because the disease would have reached advance stage. At this stage the treatment is what we call palliative care, we are just trying to do what we can do to stop the progression of this disease, it is a major challenge for us,’’ she said.
She added that there were only ten facilities in Nigeria that had functional radiotherapy equipment.
The president also noted that the stigmatisation of cancer patients has discouraged many from accessing medical care from health centres, adding that more manpower and enlightenment are required in handling the situation.
Ms Gloria Okwu, Programme Coordinator, Project Pink Blue, who is also a breast cancer survivor encouraged cancer patients to seek medical care early before the disease degenerates saying ‘cancer is not a death sentence’.