Health experts move to tackle breast cancer issues in Nigeria


Health experts across the country, are set to identify and explore barriers in the use of the Harmonised National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for tackling cancer.

Dr Nwamaka Lasebikan, President, Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologist of Nigeria (ARCON), made this known in a statement on Monday, in Abuja.

Lasebikan said that the group would host experts at a symposium where they would brainstorm on the use of the NCCN Harmonised Guidelines in Nigeria.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide.

“However the mortality rate and probability of surviving for more than five years in lower and middle income countries like Nigeria, falls short of what obtains in high income countries.

“With the rapid advancement of new technologies and medications, this disparity continues to increase with clinical and patient outcomes, depending on the side of the globe you live in.

“This one day symposium will feature lectures and panelist sessions from seasoned experts in oncology, in a bid to close the care gap, improve clinical outcomes and quality of life of patients with breast cancer,” she said.

Lasebikan said that the one day symposium themed: “Optimising the Standard of Care for Breast Cancer in Nigeria” would hold on June 30, 2022 in Enugu State.

She said the meeting would be hybrid, to allow for maximum participation of key stakeholders offering care in the oncology space.

According to her, ARCON was established in 2016, and it is a community of more than 100 professionals, specialist and trainees.

She explained that their aim was to promote ethical and evidence based standards of care for cancer, and to develop robust and competent cancer health solutions, together with the government of Nigeria.

Lasebikan said that another objective of the group was to liaise with international bodies with similar goals, and sensitise the Nigerian population about cancer and ways to combat the scourge and stigma.

She further stated that the aim was to encourage and advance the knowledge and practice of the science of radiation and clinical oncology through research, education, training, and knowledge dissemination via conferences, workshops, amongst others.

“It will be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Health adopted the NCCN Harmonised Guidelines for use in Nigeria last year during the International Cancer Week.

“During this meeting, we will explore the perceived barriers and facilitators to its implementation in Nigeria.’’

According to Lasebikan, health experts expected at the symposium are NMA President, Dr Uche Ojinma, representative from the Federal Ministry of Health, the Director, National Cancer Control Programme, and Paulette Ibeka, from Clinton Health Access Initiative, (implementing Partner).

Others, she said, were members of the African Cancer Coalition Network (ACCN), who led the development of the NCCN Harmonised guidelines, and also Prof. Obinna Onodugo, Chief Medical Director, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital UNTH, Enugu.

She listed others to include; Dr IK Obi, Commissioner for Health, Enugu State, Prof E. R. Ezeome, President Elect, West African College of Surgeons (WACS), and Dr JOT Onyia, Chairman NMA, Enugu State, and many others.

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