The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has stressed the need for holistic approach to enhance early detection and proper management of cancer in the country.
Adewole made the call in Enugu on Sunday at the first `Nationwide Go Pink Day Ball”, an event organised by a group called Breast Without Spot (BWS) to create awareness on cancer.
The minister, represented by Dr David Atuwo, the National Cancer Control Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Health, said this had become necessary to reduce spread of the disease in the country.
He pointed out that government alone could not handle cancer management and solicited support of private organisations and well meaning Nigerians in fighting the scourge.
In his remarks, the former Minster of Power and Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, said cancer management required proactive measures from both government and private sector.
Nebo noted that people were afraid to go for screening especially for breast and cervix “but early detection was the first step toward curing cancer.”
The former minister commended the President of BWS, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, for organising the event to create awareness and pledged his support for the cause.
The Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, who declared the event open, described cancer as one of the greatest killer diseases in the world.
Ezeilo, who said she lost her husband to prostate cancer, called for improved strategies for awareness against the scourge, regretting that efforts toward it were not yielding desired results.
According to her, statistics has shown that cancer is one of the greatest killer diseases in the world, with breast cancer as the most common and accounting for 70 per cent mortality rate.
The deputy governor, however, called for the establishment of cancer patients’ fund to assist people suffering from the illness.
The Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Episcopal Province, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, expressed worry at rising cases of cancer in the country.
Chukwuma regretted that government at all levels were not doing enough to control the scourge, noting that it was the reason some people embarked on medical tourism abroad for treatment.
“Why is cancer now prevalent in Nigeria? It is a disease that must be stamped out urgently,’’ he said.
Earlier, the President of BWS and Consultant Radiologist, Prof. Okoye, said the initiative was to promote actions and policies that would ensure that Nigerian women were aware and practice best breast and cervical healthcare.
Okoye stressed the need to break the fear of breast cancer by going for screening annually, adding that the disease could be cured if detected early.
She appealed for support for its Breast Cancer Patient Treatment Intervention Fund to reduce the burden.
The event featured experiences of some cancer survivors and candle light for those who died of the scourge.