The U.S Mission in Nigeria has commenced a week-long training for 44 Nigerian clinical oncologists on the treatment of cancer in the country.

Ms Malia Herous, Acting Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, said this while declaring the training open on Tuesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training is collaboration with Project Pink Blue, a non-profit organisation.
Herous said that the training was meant to strengthen cancer treatment.

She said the training would be led by two American medical oncologists who would equip participants with oncology education, curriculum, infrastructure and cancer treatment.

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She added that the mission decided to partner Nigeria on its fight against cancer, having recognised that though a critical health problem in the country, but could be prevented.

“The training will be led by Dr Tracey O’Connor and Dr Mike Martin, both medical oncologists and associate professors at Rosswell Park Cancer Institute, U.S.A., and University of Tennessee, West Cancer Center, respectively.

“We saw the need to partner the Nigerian Government and Project Pink Blue to fight cancer as it has been recognised to be a critical health problem in Nigeria.

“More people are dying of preventable cancer deaths which can be avoided.

“That is why the U.S. Government thought it wise to undertake this cancer control effort to scale up survivorship of cancer in the country,” she said.

The Executive Director, Project Pink Blue, Mr Runcie Chidebe, noted that cancer disease remained a complex disease that required complex strategies in tackling it.

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Chidebe said that the project ‘Upgrade Oncology’ was necessitated by the need to end preventable cancer related deaths in the country.

“Upgrade Oncology is a capacity development programme focused on improving cancer treatment and care.

“We found out that Nigerian oncologists face the worst and horrible cancer cases amidst limited treatment facilities.

“That is why we will continue to engage the professionals and update their knowledge and skills for better cancer care.

“We are optimistic that this training will not only strengthen the capacities of cancer treatment in Nigeria.

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“But it will establish connections and networking between U.S. based oncologists and their Nigerian counterparts,” he said.

Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, appreciated the U.S. Government and Project Pink Blue for initiating the training.

Adewole, who was represented by Dr David Atuwo, Director, National Cancer Control Programme of the ministry, noted that the problem with cancer related deaths was late discovery.

He called on Nigerians to change their orientation about denial of cancer symptoms and report cases to appropriate health facilities for further treatment.

NAN reports that participants of the training were drawn from various government hospitals and two private health facilities across the country.