The Chief Medical Director of MeCure Healthcare Limited, Dr. Adeniji Adeoluwa, weekend raised the alarm that 23 percent of Nigerian women suffer from breast cancer, saying 140,000 people are likely to have the disease annually.
Adeoluwa lamented that the mortality rate of breast cancer in West Africa has failed to reduce because victims seek preventive measures late.
Speaking in Lagos during an event organised by the organisation to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Adeoluwa, urged women to be consistent in examining their breasts and call the attention of an expert if anything unusual is detected.
Adeoluwa, who regretted the shortage of oncologists in the country, also urged the government to create a conducive environment for medical practitioners.
He said, “Generally, breast cancer is a disease that affects mostly women, but men also have breast cancer. For men, it is not as common as we have in women, and that is the reason nobody talks about breast cancer in men.
“In this part of the world, people prevent it very late. They come when the cancer is advanced. As a result, you will do your best, but you cannot cure the cancer. Cancer is curable when detected very early. It is the reason for having this campaign so that people can know that the whole essence is for them to go to the hospital, report the cases on time, detect them early, and be cured.
“When it comes to breast cancer globally, we emphasize prevention, early detection, and early treatment. When we talk about prevention, we talk about creating awareness. For instance, letting people know what they can do to prevent cancer.”
On the number of oncologists in the country, he said: “Nigeria has less than 100 oncologists, but it is still better than what some African countries are going through presently. There are states in Nigeria that don’t have a single oncologist. The journey is still very far.
“To train an oncologist takes many years. When they are fully trained, most of the time they have made up their minds about leaving the country. It is so bad that senior professors are leaving. If we look at what is going on, it is so challenging. The policymakers will have to make the country attractive for professionals to stay. They also have to make up their minds to channel resources into the healthcare sector.”