by Juliana K. Tauna, Kaduna
As Nigeria joins her counterparts in the world to mark the year 2020 ‘Head and Neck World Day,’ the federal government has been called upon to provide more radiotherapy centres in the country.
The government is also been urged to create more cancer centres across the six geo-political zones of the country.
The appeal was made by Medical Director of the National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna, Dr. Mustapha Abubakar Yaro, while fielding questions from newsmen during the centre’s sensitization programme to create awareness as part of activities to mark the 2020 World Head and Neck Day, on Monday, July 27.
He stated that, “Radiotherapy comes after surgery or chemotherapy treatment of cancer. Unfortunately, the centres are not much in Nigeria. We call on government to improve the radiotherapy availability to cut across all the geopolitical zones of the country. Patients, after undergoing surgery or treatment, wait for long to get radiotherapy.”
Speaking further, he said that the cost of personnel and equipment for setting up a radiotherapy centre makes it expensive; as such, adequate funding is required for setting up the centres.
While he noted that in other countries, small hospitals have radiotherapy centres, the medical director also expressed hope that in the future, the National Ear Care Centre would have such facility when funds are available.
“For the fact that any part of the body can develop cancer, more patients nationally may be requiring radiotherapy,” he stressed.
According to him, the World Head and Neck Cancer Day is to create awareness on the risk factors leading to its growth, saying, “A lot of people are not aware that cancer of Head and Neck exists, as most people only know of cancer of the breast and cervix among the women and prostate among men.
“People can have cancer of throat, tongue and others, which are related to the head; hence, they should know risk factors, like smoking and exposure to radiation. Multiple exposures to x-ray are also risk factors,” he said.
Furthermore, he explained that smoke pollution is also a risk factor, resulting from urbanization as well as industrialization, which is a factor due to chemicals exposure.
“Like for throat cancer, voice can change and become hoarse. They can have difficulty breathing or swallowing. They can also have bleeding from the nose or, ulcers on the head refusing to heal,” he informed.
The MD said that on their part at the National Ear Care Centre, they carry out diagnosis to detect early cancer, which they treat some.
“Cancer can be treated through surgery and chemotherapy. We can operate and treat cancer of the nose and tongue here. But we can do surgery for all cancers.
“The only aspect we refer outside from here is the radiotherapy, which only for now is available at the National Hospital Abuja or in Sokoto and Ibadan,” he said.
He raised alarm that occurrences of Head and Neck Cancers is increasing in the country due to increase in indulgence in some of the risk factors like alcohol and smoking.
He said as a result, they embraced marking the World Head and Neck Cancer Day to create awareness.
“People should know that the cancer of Head and Neck is increasing and, if they feel anything strange, they can visit the National Ear Care Centre, which is the best place they can come for such treatment,” Dr. Yaro said.