World Cancer Day 2022; Medical expert wants barriers to treatment access removed – The Sun Nigeria
By Priscilla Ediare, Teen-Ekiti
A medical expert, Dr Abidemi Omonisi, had called for ways to overcome the barriers cancer patients face in accessing treatments to reduce deaths and ensure better lives for patients and survivors.
Dr Omonisi, Founding Director of the Ekiti Cancer Registry and President of the Nigerian Cancer Society (NCS), Ekiti State Branch, also advised Nigerians to refrain from lifestyles and practices unhealthy foods that could make them susceptible to developing cancer.
Dr Omonisi made the calls in a statement on Friday, marking World Cancer Day 2022 with the theme: “Closing the care gap”; which, he noted, was a call to challenge assumptions and address inequities in access to cancer care across the world.
Consultant Pathologist at Ado-Ekiti Teaching Hospital of Ekiti State University revealed that this year’s World Cancer Day also marks the first year of a new three-year campaign centered on the equity issue.
He said: “The first year of the ‘Close the Care Gap’ campaign is about understanding and acknowledging inequities in cancer care around the world. It’s about having an open mind, questioning assumptions and looking at hard facts.
“Inequity in cancer care costs lives. People seeking cancer care encounter obstacles at every turn.
“Income, education, location and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle are just some of the factors that can negatively impact care.
“The gap affects everyone, including you and your loved ones. These barriers are not immutable. They can be changed.
“This is the year to challenge the status quo and help reduce stigma; listen to the perspectives of people living with cancer and their communities and let these lived experiences guide our thoughts and actions.
“This is how we can start to imagine a better way of doing things and build a fairer vision of the future – a future where people live healthier lives and have better access to health and fighting cancer, no matter where they are born, grow up, age, work or live.
“We know that each of us has the ability to make a difference, big or small, and together we can make real progress in reducing the global impact of cancer.”
Explaining why the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) on February 4, 2000, at the World Cancer Summit in Paris, began marking World Cancer Day every February 4 every year, Dr Omonisi said “The main objective of marking World Cancer Day Cancer Day is to provide a platform for researchers, healthcare professionals, patients, governments, industries, non-governmental organizations, individuals and to the media to build an invincible alliance against cancer and its greatest allies of fear, ignorance and complacency.
He further stated that on World Cancer Day, people and organizations around the world are coming together to raise awareness about cancer and working to make it a global health priority.
The cancer expert who is also a member of the Nigerian National Cancer Registries System (NSCR), Federal Ministry of Health Abuja and a member of the African Cancer Registries Network (AFRCN) Research Committee said that “ cancer is now a major public health problem worldwide. and one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
“The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has new estimates on the global cancer burden, indicating that it has risen to 19.3 million cases and 10 million cancer deaths in 2020. The IARC estimates that Worldwide, 1 in 5 people will develop cancer during their lifetime. life, and 1 in 8 men and 1 in 11 women die from the disease. These new estimates suggest that more than 50 million people live within five years of a previous cancer diagnosis. Global aging populations and socio-economic risk factors remain among the main factors driving this increase.
“We are all affected in one way or another by cancer. We have relatives, friends, colleagues, members of our various communities who have died, been diagnosed and even treated for cancer”.
He noted that we have the power to reduce its impacts on ourselves, the people we love, and the world at large.
He called for the personal commitment of people, wherever they reside in the world, to help reduce the global burden of cancer through healthy eating, physical activity, limiting or stopping alcohol, knowing the signs and symptoms of cancer and early detection, sharing stories about their cancer experience, supporting cancer patients and survivors with physical and emotional impacts, dispelling rumors and myths that lead to stigma and discrimination against people with cancer in some communities, encouraging schools and workplaces to improve nutrition, physical activity and smoke-free policies that help people adopt healthy habits.
The cancer expert called on government and leaders to commit adequate resources to reduce cancer deaths and provide better quality of life for patients and survivors.
He highlighted some of the causes of cancer like smoking; infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B and C, human papilloma virus (HPV); genetic factor; artificial ultraviolet radiation; excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun, especially by albinos; chemicals such as complex hydrocarbons, aromatic amines and certain heavy metals contained in some soaps used as skin bleaching soaps and some herbicides and pesticides.
He warned farmers to strictly observe necessary precautionary measures when using herbicides and pesticides on their farms.
Dr. Omonisi also disclosed that the Ekiti Cancer Registry has made a tremendous contribution to reducing the global burden of cancer through the provision of high quality data for the publication of Cancer in Nigeria, Cancer in Sub-shawahar Africa Vol.III, registry data was used. by the Ekiti State Ministry of Health in 2021 as the basis for the development of the newly drafted Ekiti Cancer Control Plan and Policy used by researchers for publication of articles on the cancer in local and international journals and just a few weeks ago the registry provided data for the publication of Cancer in Five Continents by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon France.
Cancer researcher and Principal Investigator of the Transatlantic Family Prostate Cancer Project (CaPTC) Ekiti State, said research into prostate, breast, gastrointestinal and cervical cancers is currently under way. underway in the state.
He commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for the establishment and funding of the Cancer Health Fund (CHF) as this will go a long way in bridging the cancer care gap through reducing the burden of cancer treatment in the country.
He urged all stakeholders to commit to minimizing the current cancer burden.