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FG unveils three policy documents to reduce cancer prevalence in Nigeria

BY Jesupemi Are

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The federal government has unveiled three policy documents to help achieve its aim of reducing the prevalence of cancer in Nigeria.

The documents were inaugurated on Monday by Tunji Alausa, minister of state for health and social welfare, at the opening ceremony of the 2023 International Cancer Week (ICW).

The theme of the celebration was “Addressing cancer care disparities through improved access to research and treatment”.

The documents are the national strategic cancer control Plan 2023-2027, national cancer research agenda 2024-2027 and the national strategic plan for prevention of cancer of uterine cervix 2023-2027.

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Alausa said the three documents have priority areas of action that address governance, prevention, supply chain management, data and research as well as surveillance.

He said cancer has become a leading cause of death worldwide, including in Nigeria.

The minister added that the global distribution of predominant cancers has continued to change, especially in developing countries.

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He said low and middle-income countries accounted for 51 percent of all cancers worldwide in 1975 while the proportion increased to 55 percent in 2007 and to 70 percent in 2018.

“The rise in incidence of cancers is even worse with breast cancer which is the main focus of the October cancer awareness activities,” NAN quoted Alausa as saying.

“Breast cancer has remained the commonest cancer in Nigeria for a long time now and the incidence is still on the increase.

“This is followed by cervical and prostate cancers. Childhood cancers especially haematological cancers and retinoblastoma are also increasing daily.”

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Alausa said the “gory statistics” have shown that cancer has become an emerging disease in Nigeria, and a “serious public health concern”.

This, he said, informed the resolve of the federal ministry of health to harness all available material and human resources within its domain to stop the pattern from becoming established.

“I want to assure you that under this administration, we are deliberate in our commitment to vigorously address the health needs of Nigerians with particular interest in cancer care,” he said.

“This underscores my delight in the unveiling of Abuja and by extension Nigeria, as a member of the City Cancer Challenge network today as a welcome development.

“We are ready to partner with City Cancer Challenge Foundation and its partners and indeed all stakeholders to advance cancer care in our country.”

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