The Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF), in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, has called on the federal government to create a national screening program and to subsidize treatment for prostate cancer.
The group made the appeal during their innovative prostate cancer awareness and fundraising event under the theme “Art for Cancer”.
Chief Executive Officer (MD), Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, said screening programs and systems will lead to better outcomes and early detection.
“In high-income countries, there are screening systems and therefore prostate cancer cases are detected earlier and the results are therefore much better.
“Seventy percent of all cancer deaths occur in low income countries like Nigeria and we should see that triple by 2030, so raising awareness and educating people will help,” Bagudu added.
While forcing individuals to adopt a healthy and regular screening lifestyle, she also called for better inclusion of cancer care in national and state health insurance plans, especially screening programs.
Bagudu also urged the federal government to use the tax derived from the Sin-tax system to fund the health sector, especially non-communicable diseases and cancer.
Hadiza Arome, Patient Access to Cancer Care Program Manager, Medicaid Cancer Foundation, said in her speech: “The number of men who die each year underscores the fact that prostate cancer is as important as it is. breast cancer. Quoting GLOBOCAN 2020, Arome noted that 8,517 men died of prostate cancer in one year.
“Most of these men died because prostate cancer was not detected early enough,” she said.
Citing the cost of treatment as a challenge faced by individuals, particularly patients with prostate cancer, Arome said “
chemotherapy is ridiculously high. With the average cost of a chemotherapy cycle for prostate cancer going up to N300,000, you can imagine a patient going through 18 cycles. So what will the common man do who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer?
“So we need the government to step in, in terms of creating a national testing program that will ensure that people are tested early. If you have a national screening program, then it’s possible for people to go and get tested.
“The government can also subsidize the treatment of prostate cancer, it can also be done by reducing taxes for pharmaceutical companies,” Arome said.
She also noted that over the past 13 years, the foundation has reached over two million Nigerians with free and subsidized cancer care services.
Ukelu Idahosa, Johnson & Johnson Medical Science Liaison Officer, said: “We have come to meet a great void. Unlike what we saw with breast cancer, where we had a lot of awareness, it was the other way around with prostate cancer. It looked like nothing was happening, yet men were dying every day ”.
“Prostate cancer is a curable and treatable cancer, but the sad reality is that many men who present to our hospitals with prostate cancer arrive at advanced stages of the disease. We can all join hands to do something, ”Ukelu added.