Speaking on Tuesday at a briefing held in Abuja to commemorate the 2020 World Cancer Day, Dr. Osagie Ehanire added that an estimated 102,000 new cases of cancer are also detected in the country every year.
Stressing that a number of factors were responsible for the increase in cases of cancer in the Niger Delta, the minister said the most common types of cancer were breast, cervical, prostate, colon and rectal cancers. Others, he noted, included lung, liver, pancreatic and brain cancers.
Ehanire also disclosed that the Federal Government was partnering the American Cancer Society and Clinton Health Access Initiative to make 16 chemotherapy medications available at a cost cheaper by 65 per cent than the current market cost.
The minister said this was unveiled on October 29, 2019 with seven teaching hospitals participating in the programme. They are Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria; Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos; National Hospital, Abuja; Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile Ife; University College Hospital, Ibadan; and the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.
He said, “Projections from the Globocan show that lower-income countries were home to 57 per cent of new cases and 65 per cent of cancer deaths in 2012. Their share of incidence is expected to increase to approximately 70 per cent of the predicted 24 million people, who will be diagnosed with cancer annually by 2050.
“According to the Nigeria National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan (2018-2022), cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year with an estimated 102,000 new cases of cancer annually.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Medical Association has called on the government to find a means of preventing the disease, which it said had killed a quite number of Nigerians in the past. The association also expressed concern over the alleged inability of the government to have a national policy on cancer to tame the scourge.