The existing statistics of cancer cases in Nigeria is mere speculation as there is no accurate record of cancer in the country, the newly established National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, NICRAT, has said.
NICRAT Director-General, Dr Usman Aliyu, who said this, insisted that figures particularly bandied on 2020 to 2021 cancer cases in Nigeria were inaccurate.
To this end, he said the agency had concluded arrangements to unveil a strategic plan that will set a roadmap of what it intends to do ahead.
“The figures people are giving, that in the year 2021 to 2022, we recorded 120 cancer cases in Nigeria are just mere speculations. There is no actual data on the figure.
“We don’t even have the statistics to know the number of cancer centres we have in the country, how many that are functioning and how many are dormant and how many of the cancer centres have the requirements to be called cancer centres?
” Do we even have a grading criteria to actually grade all these cancer centres? We don’t have. And that is why we plan to carry out this mapping. If that is done, then we will be able to say so and so cancer centres are in grade A and so and so are in grade B and so on. With that ,we will be able to let people know that if you have this kind of cancer, this is the best place to go for treatment. We have to do.
“So the first thing we’re going to do is in the area of mapping of the resources in cancer space within the country. Very soon, maybe in a month or so, we intend to unveil our strategic plan that will set a roadmap of what we intend to do,” he said.
Aliyu, who regretted that there was no coordination among cancer centres operating in Nigeria, said the organisation was working towards ending it.
” We have a lot of cancer centres around but there is no coordination or harmonization. And we have a lot of researches going on. We have a supervisory function over all the cancer centres in the country. It is part of our mandates to coordinate the researches, the treatment activities to whatever they are doing, ”he said.
Dr Aliyu said the institute had started some researches on cancer in the country.
“We have started some few researches. We have had interaction with the National Cancer Institute and National Institute on Health, NIH America in the area of mapping and they assured us of their collaboration. Before you do anything, you have to know what you have on ground,” he said.