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40% of cancer cases can be prevented in Nigeria ― Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, says 40 per cent of cancer cases can be prevented in Nigeria if people can change their sedentary lifestyles.

Adewole made the assertion on Friday, while addressing newsmen at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos.

The minister was in LUTH for the inspection of new cancer treatment centre at the hospital.

He said that cancer prevention could be achieved when people change their lifestyles, especially the way they move around, sleep, eat, what they drink and majorly, staying away from tobacco.

“The main purpose of investing in this cancer treatment centre is to treat more people in the country, rather than travelling out for treatment.

“Also, the best place to treat patients is when they are among their people and seeing their relations every day.

“So, we are trying to achieve that and save people’s money because it will be cheaper than travelling outside.

“We noticed that treatment is beyond the modalities that will offer.

“Three modalities for cancer treatment are chemotherapy, radiation and surgery because most cancer cases are always presented late.

“Improving awareness on cancer treatment will make people come early for treatment and reduce late presentation of cancer cases,” Adewole said.

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He also said that the plan was to replicate the centre in many health institutions across the country.

“LUTH has a first class of Biomedical Centre which we planned to support other centres.

“I know LUTH will manage the machine properly which means abandoned and broken equipment will be a thing of the past.

“There will also be long-time maintenance contract that will enable us to manage the cancer machine.

“The cancer treatment centre is almost ready, so by February, this centre will start operation fully for the benefits of the patients,” Adewole said.

According to the minister, apart from the Cancer Treatment Centre, Federal Ministry of Health had on Tuesday flagged off the basic healthcare provision fund.

“The main reason is to provide a resource from the Federal down to all the state facilities and also to the local government level.

“We will also be providing some free basic services to the people such as immunisation services, delivery services, tuberculosis services, checking of blood pressure, urine test and treatment of under-five children.

“We will also be partnering with the state governments by making sure that the state provides infrastructure, while the Federal Government provides money to maintain it.

“We are also moving ahead by producing adequate doctors in all health facilities, retain our health professionals by providing necessary equipment, funds and also attract many doctors back to Nigeria.

“Our major main aim is to ensure people access to quality healthcare in 2019,” Adewole said.

In his remarks, Prof. Chris Bode, the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, said that the aim was to establish a world-class cancer treatment centre in the hospital which would help to reduce medical tourism.

Bode said: “We are really looking forward to the inauguration of the cancer treatment centre because many Nigerians will benefit from it.

“We already have the manpower, that is enough experts for cancer treatment, but we are trying to also retrain our experts on how to maintain and use the machine properly.

“I want people to know that healthcare is evitable to invest in, so I am calling on people to invest more in the healthcare system in the country,” he said.

NAN reports that the minister also visited some of the renovated facilities in the hospital, including Radiotherapy Centre and Paediatric Wards.

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