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World Cancer Day is on Saturday, 4 February 2012

Press Release World Cancer Day 2012

World Cancer Day is on Saturday, 4 February 2012Cancer has become a major source of suffering and death throughout the world. According to the World Health Organization, in 2008, there were 12.7 million new cases and 7.6 million deaths due to cancer in different parts of the world. More than half of these cancers occurred in developing countries and by 2030, more than two thirds of all new cases of cancer will occur in developing countries. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the arm of the WHO that deals with cancer, thinks that 100,000 new cases of cancer occurred in Nigeria in 2008 and the number is increasing every year.

The theme of the 2012 World Cancer Day is 'Together it is possible'. This is to encourage the general public, government and all organizations to be part of events marking the day and spread and share the message, that together we can fight this deadly disease. As we mark World Cancer Day, it is important that we as a country come together and strengthen the human and material resources that can improve cancer diagnosis and treatment in Nigeria. These include resources for cancer screening such as that of cervix, cancer preventions such as Hepatitis vaccination, Treatment including creation of a National Cancer Institute and Research such as Cancer Registries and specialized laboratories.

At last year’s World Cancer Day, we announced the partnership between the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria, the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) and international partners such as International Prevention Research Institute, Lyon France (iPRI) to develop and strengthen our National System of Cancer Registry so that we can provide information on occurrence of cancer in Nigeria.

We are pleased to announce the fruit of that collaboration. Over a 2 year period, 2009 to 2010 approximately 11,000 new cases of cancer were recorded in 13 Tertiary Health hospitals in Nigeria. 61% of all cases were in women and 39% in men. We now know the commonest 5 cancers in men and women in Nigeria.

According to Dr. Elima Jedy-Agba, The coordinator of the national system of cancer registry program, ‘the five most common cancers affecting Nigerian men are Prostate, Colorectal Cancer (Large Intestine), Lymphomas (Lymph nodes), Liver and Skin while in women the most common cancers are Breast, Cervix, Ovary, Lymphomas and Skin.’ 

Prof. Clement Adebamowo, the Director of Research and Strategic information at IHVN and President of the Society of Oncology and Cancer Research of Nigeria (SOCRON) re-iterated that ‘the commonest cancers in Nigerian women – Breast and Cervix which constitute 60% of all cancers affecting Nigerian women – are either preventable or curable if detected early even with facilities available in Nigeria. Therefore the role of the general public and mass media is crucial in the fight against cancers in this country’

Dr. Jedy-Agba also stated that reports from a recent study carried out on data from population based cancer registries in Nigeria show that the age group most commonly affected by cancer in men is the 65 years and above age group while in women cancers are commonly seen between 45 -55 years of age. The study also showed that there has been “a 100% increase in breast cancer incidence in Nigeria over the last decade.”

As cancer incidence is increasing in Nigeria the Nigerian people need to be more aware of cancer and present to their doctors early if they notice any suspicious symptoms, as early presentation is the key in effective cancer diagnosis and management.

Together it is possible to fight cancer and stay healthy!