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Contrary to the general belief that breast cancer do not occur in men, an expert in cancer treatment, Professor Oladapo Campbell has declared that a high proportion of men in Nigeria are now developing breast cancer.

Campbell spoke at a World Cancer day celebration by the Department of Radiation Oncology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State in collaboration with Association of Radiation & Clinical Oncologists of Nigeria.

He said relatively high proportion of male breast cancer is encountered in Nigerian men, adding that although the incidence of breast cancer varies all over the country, 8.6 per cent of breast cancer was seen in males in some centres treating cancer in Northern Nigeria.

The expert, remarking that cancer was the second leading cause of death in developing countries, said that half a million new cancer cases is recorded yearly in Nigeria.

He decried tremendous increase in new cancer cases in Nigeria yearly, linking this to increasing life expectancy, intake of low fibre diet, tobacco and alcohol use, infections, sedentary living and obesity.

Campbell stated that between 23 and 25 per cent of all cases of cancer at the UCH, Ibadan, was due to breast cancer, adding, “12 per cent of our breast cancer patients are younger than 30 years of age”.

The don, however, listed challenges against cancer treatment in Nigeria to include late presentation for treatment, stigma, poor facilities for diagnosis and treatment, poverty, shortage of manpower and exorbitant cost of cancer drugs.

He canvassed also for strengthening of the curriculum for cancer treatment by the National Postgraduate College of Physicians and West African College of Surgeons to meet increasing need for cancer treatment and discourage quackery in cancer treatment.

The don urged that efforts be intensified on the National Cancer Registry to ensure adequate data on cancer in Nigeria, adding “with adequate data, we will know which area to support to ensure adequate care for cancer.”

Dr Isaac Olulana , a consultant paediatric surgeon, declared that cancer now trail trauma as cause of child death and one in 600 children die from it before their 15th birthday.

Olulana who remarked that 70 per cent of cancers in children are curable if detected early, stated that eye cancer is the most common cancer in children in Ibadan and Burkit lymphoma in South-South Nigeria.

The expert, who declared that cancers had been seen in newborn also, warned that a whitish speck in the eye may be the first sign of eye cancer in children.

Former President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Kayode Obembe, the chairman at the event expressed displeasure at government officials paying lip service to management of cancer.

Obembe said cancer care should be made part of the health insurance package to ensure universal health coverage for all.

Head, Department of Radiation Oncology, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Dr Adeniyi Adenipekun said cancer should not be a death sentence, adding that when cancer is diagnosed early, it is treatable.

Adenipekun, saying that a large percentage of Nigerians are still ignorant of what cancer is, said early signs of cancers may include unexplainable weight loss, blood in stool, and long lasting cough.


Source: The Punch Newspaper

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