A Consultant Oncologist, Dr. Abia Nzelu says despite the increasing cases of cancer in Nigeria, the country lacks a Comprehensive Cancer Centre.
Dr. Nzelu noted that not having a Comprehensive Cancer Centre in the country has made treatment of the health condition more difficult.
According to the oncologist, a CCC is a world-class, stand-alone tertiary health institution, with all its departments focused exclusively on cancer care.
The CCC is the only institution that is optimally equipped to tackle all stages and types of cancer, he said.
In a press statement made available to PUNCH HealthWise, Nzelu said a crucial way of improving cancer survivorship of Nigerians is for every Nigerian to unite in supporting the big war against cancer, and specifically the drive to establish Nigeria’s first CCC, a campaign championed by GivingTide International.
According to her, India has over 200 CCC (mostly non-governmental/nonprofit), while Nigeria has none.
“Consequently, Nigerians spend over one billion dollars on foreign treatment annually, an amount sufficient to establish 20 CCC in Nigeria every year. Tragically, those who seek care abroad often die from late intervention.
“Moreover, the COVID-related global lockdown has shown that medical tourism may not always be available, even if one could afford it. The worst affected are poor cancer victims who can afford neither local nor foreign treatment.
“Whilst Africa’s most populous nation has no CCC, some countries in the continent which have Comprehensive Cancer Centres include South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, among others.”
She added that Egypt, with a population of 82 million, has a National Cancer Institute, several CCCs, and mobile units.
Nzelu said “Egypt also has the world’s largest stand-alone children cancer hospital – Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt. The CCHE was spearheaded by a paediatric oncologist who lost 13 of the 16 paediatric cancer patients under her care, in one day.
“The CCHE was built solely by donation and is sustained entirely by donation. All children who present at the CCHE are treated free irrespective of their race, creed, or class. The CCHE now has a survival rate of over 90 percent for Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia.”
Continuing, she said, “By addressing the cause of their death, the CCC will also honour the memory of those who have died from cancer. A CCC is not merely a hospital that has a radiotherapy machine. Rather, a CCC is a world-class, stand-alone tertiary health institution, with all its departments focused exclusively on cancer care.
“The CCC is the only institution that is optimally equipped to tackle all stages and types of cancer. By housing first-class cancer research, preventive, curative, and palliative care in one place, the CCC leads to better outcomes across a range of measures – including, most importantly, cancer survival.”
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