Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has advocated a change in lifestyle to check rising cases of cancer in Nigeria.

He suggested that the change in lifestyle should be holistic with stronger focus on healthy diet, regular body exercise and clean environment.

Osinbajo gave the advice on Friday, when he commissioned the 2nd linear accelerator radiotherapy machine at the cancer centre in National Hospital, Abuja.

The radiotherapy machine was donated to the National Hospital by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The vice president who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi, reiterated the commitment of government to any cause that would reduce the high number of deaths being experienced annually due to cancer.

He appreciated the donors and encouraged other organisations to commit to similar steps that would improve the health, education and total well-being of Nigerians.

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The SNEPCo Managing Director, Bayo Ojulari, said the intervention was necessitated by unimpressive data from the global health sector on Nigeria’s unimpressive performance in the prediction, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

He said: “I cannot but feel the urgent need for individuals and corporations to step in and support the government in that regard.”

He quoted the Nigeria National Cancer Control Plan 2018 to 2022 document which indicates that cancer was responsible for about 72, 000 deaths in Nigeria annually, with an estimated 102, 000 new cases annually.

The Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital, Dr. Jaf Momoh, said the newly-installed state-of-the-art cancer machine had been tested and proved its capacity to reduce treatment and response time to cancer.

He said: “With our previous cancer machine that has lesser capacity, we were able to attend to 850 patients in 20 months, and that includes 30 rounds of treatment for each patient. The machine takes about 15 minutes for each round of treatment but this new machine has shortened the time of response.”

He added: “The accuracy of the new machine is impressive. It gives opportunity for treatment planning, treatment and simulation. In addition to that, it has reduced the cost of treatment drastically from hitherto $10,000 or above to $2,000.”