A Clinical Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Dr Joseph Adedayo, has stated that early detection, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment could increase the chance of surviving childhood cancer by 90 per cent.
“One of the problems we have with cancer is delayed detection. What happens is that these children are treated for malaria, typhoid fever and infections and in that process, a lot of time is being wasted and the disease eats in deep and gets out of control,” Adedayo said.
She described cancer as the fourth leading cause of death among children under 15 years in Nigeria and, as a result, it required collective efforts to check the diseases in the country.
Also, calling on government at all levels and other stakeholders in the health sector to put in place the appropriate structure that would ensure that children with cancer were not misdiagnosed with other ailments, a public health physician, Dr Adepeju Daodu, said that late diagnosis, proper referral system and moving the children from primary to secondary health care level, were issues for public health concern.
“Children with cancer should not be seen in a primary health care level, not even in secondary health care level; but a tertiary level or teaching hospital because it is a multiple disciplinary effort involving the pediatrician, the pediatric oncologist, the nutritionist and the surgeon, especially in cases that require the removal of a tumour. So you have several departments working on one child and they are happy to do it,” she stressed.