Nigeria’s First Lady urges Nigerians to take action against cancer

NIGERIA’S First Lady Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has urged Nigerians to take action against cancer.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife  spoke at the annual five-kilometre “Walk Away Cancer” organised by Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF) at the weekend in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that globally, cancer is a major leading health ailment with an estimated yearly 10 million occurrences and six million deaths.

Nigeria’s President-elect Mohammadu Buhari (R) and his deputy Yemi Osinbajo pose as Buhari’s wife Aisha (C) looks on in Abuja, on April 1, 2015. (STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)Nigeria’s President-elect Mohammadu Buhari (R) and his deputy Yemi Osinbajo pose as Buhari’s wife Aisha (C) looks on in Abuja, on April 1, 2015. (STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
In Nigeria, an estimated 72,000 cancer deaths occur annually, and 102,000 new cases are diagnosed from its population of about 200 million people.

The President’s wife urged Nigerians to go for regular check-ups and to enable them detect the ailment early to save lives.

“Cancer screening is for people without symptoms. So, if you have noticed a change, do not wait for screening. Tell your doctor as soon as possible,” she advised.

Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Bagudu said for over the years, Medicaid Cancer Foundation had championed cancer awareness across the country.

He said the awareness had resulted in the establishment of sophisticated centres for cancer treatment as well as discounted screening and diagnosis.

The governor acknowledged cancer as a complicated disease with expensive cost for treatment.

He said his wife and founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation had advocated the inclusion of cancer treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

“All of these were progress made through the high-level advocacy to help the common man that cannot afford to pay out of pocket for cancer treatment,” he said.

Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, alerted Nigerians to the dangers associated with the disease and the need for early discovery.

Ehanire, who was represented by the Director and Head of Department of Hospital Services in the ministry, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, said early diagnosis would improve cancer treatment outcome.

The founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, who led the five-kilometre walk, said the activities of the foundation, established years ago, were meant to increase cancer awareness and promote better chances of surviving the disease.

The governor’s wife said the foundation was reaching out to low income earners and poor people, especially in rural communities, creating cancer awareness.

The foundation, according to her, also helps to disabuse the minds of people about cultural and traditional beliefs that cancer is caused by witchcraft.

“Early screening of cancer will help to effectively detect and treat it.

“We can reduce the burden of cancer by half through increased awareness and achieve the global target to reduce cancer by 25 per cent by the year 2025,” she said.

A urologist, Dr. Hassan Abubakar, who spoke with NAN on the sidelines of the walk, urged the public to watch out for the three main risk factors of prostate cancer.

“Getting older, having a family history of the disease and, ethnicity, all play a part in increasing the risk of getting it,” he said.—The Nation

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