NGO wants FG to tackle childhood cancer

Project Pink Blue, a cancer advocacy NGO, has called on the Federal Government to tackle mortality rate caused by cancer in children in the country.
Mr Runcie Chidebe, the Executive Director of the organization, made the appeal in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Chidebe said that cancer in children was often left on the back burner, because people had subconsciously concluded in their minds that cancer was a disease for the ageing population.
According to him, this premise has led to the increasing loss of the young populace from the disease.
He explained that cancer in children was as real as adult cancer and could be stopped if detected on time.
“In addition to saving our women and men from the scourge of cancer, we must not forget the next generation.
“There is little information as it regards to childhood cancer in Nigeria and we need to deliberately organise awareness and data so as to be able to face this challenge head-on.
“If we achieve success in curbing adult cancers but not children cancer in Nigeria, we cannot say we have succeeded.
“Many people do not know that children also have cancer they assume that it is only adult women and men that are diagnosed of cancer.
“According to World Health Organisation (WHO) cancer is a leading cause of death for children and adolescents globally.
“Cancer which affects children between the ages of 0 and 19 is generally referred to as childhood cancer and approximately 300,000 children around the world aged between 0 and 19 years are diagnosed with cancer annually.
“Unfortunately, unlike adult cancer, childhood cancer cannot be prevented or screened. It is more, unfortunately, in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) like Nigeria where 80 per cent of diagnosed cases.
“That cannot be cured compared to 20 per cent in High Income Countries (HICs),” he said.
He noted that accurate and early diagnosis followed by prompt treatment was required for the improvement of childhood cancer outcomes.
He added that childhood cancer could be treated with most generic forms of treatment, saying it is usually less costly compared to adult cancer.
Chidebe stressed that avoidable death from childhood cancers in LMICs resulted from lack of diagnosis, misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
He also blamed poor access to cancer care, poverty, abandonment of treatment, death from toxicity and higher rates of relapse as other factors that contributed to deaths from the disease.
He recommended childhood cancer data systems in order to drive continuous improvement in quality of care as well as help drive policy decisions.
Chidebe therefore urged parents to report any anomalies in their children to hospitals promptly for proper care. (NAN)

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