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Nigeria needs more cancer specialists — Expert



Head, Oncology and Radiology Department at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Professor Aderemi Ajekigbe, has lamented the dearth of cancer specialists in the country.

According to him, there are only 50 oncologists in Nigeria, of which three of the top five are inching closer to their retirement and may retire at the same time.

He further stressed that Nigeria needs more cancer specialists to fight cancer, which he said could be treated if detected on time.

Ajekigbe made this known while delivering the keynote address at an end-of-year party/sponsorship award for cancer patients in the hospital organised by the Atinuke Cancer Foundation.

He said, “We need more oncologists and cancer specialists in Nigeria to treat cancer patients. The only functional cancer machine that we have in LUTH stopped working a few days ago and we do not know when it would pick up again. Nigeria has the money to provide these facilities and I’ve always said the Federal Government should dedicate an oil bloc to cancer treatment.’’

On her part, founder of the foundation, Mrs. Tinuke Lawal-Sanusi, a cancer survivor, urged government to rehabilitate hospitals nationwide so that people could have access to quality healthcare.

She said, “We are advocating for the renovation of our hospitals and an overhaul of the health sector. People die every day, not only from cancer, but from other ailments because we do not have the facilities to help them. This foundation was established when I completed my radiotherapy and chemotherapy. When I was diagnosed of breast cancer in 2014, I didn’t realise that I was sitting on a time bomb. I waited until 2016 before I started my treatment and luckily, I survived it.’’

The Chairman of the event and former Managing Director, Lagos Waste Management Authority, Mr. Ola Oresanya, stressed the need for proper counselling after initial diagnosis of cancer as people must be emotionally stabilised if they want to fight and win the battle,

“What cancer patients do when they hear heart-wrenching messages about their health is very important, so they must be managed well. We have heard cases of people who committed suicide after they heard about certain life-threatening conditions that they had,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, LUTH, Professor Femi Fasanmade, expressed delight that LUTH partnered with the foundation in organising the event.

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