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Reps pass bills on establishment of cancer in Nigeria

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Reps pass bill on establishment of cancer prevention centre in Nigeria

Members of the House of Representatives have expressed support for the establishment of cancer registry across Nigeria.

The proposed bill sponsored by Hon. Ossai Nichola Ossai, chairman, House Committee on Treaties, Agreements and Protocols, during Wednesday plenary session, seeks to make provision for the compilation of a statistical record of the incidence of cancer; to provide a basis for direction of programmes for research and for cancer prevention and related matters.

In his lead debate on the general principle of the bill, Hon. Ossai observed that Nigeria presently records an estimated number of 102,000 of new cases of cancer annually, out of which about 80,000 die.

He added breast and cervical cancer are the two most common types of cancer responsible for approximately 50.3 percent of all cancer cases in Nigeria.

The lawmaker noted that as a result of the recent negative consequences of cancer disease in Nigeria, the federal ministry of health in 2009 collaborated with Society of Oncology and Cancer Research of Nigeria and the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria, which led to the formation of Nigeria National System of Cancer Registration.

He said since inception, the Nigeria National System of Cancer Registration has been able to revive national consciousness in cancer registration and presently over 30 cancer registries have been established in the country without the federal government having a national office to collate and record information on the incidences and mortality rate of cancer in Nigeria.

Hon. Ossai however explained that the proposed Registry will help to “provide a platform for information gathering on the mortality rate of cancer disease and a basis for compilation of statistical record of incidence of cancer in the country.”

It is also expected to “provide a direction of cancer survival studies and research programme and information on the personal, clinical and pathological characteristic of cancer in Nigeria.”

In the same vein, the Cancer Registry Centre when established will “provide vital statistics on the type of cancer seen in that environment including the topography, age and sex distribution, and possibly typical outcomes for affected individuals.”

Ossai further lamented that “as at today in Nigeria, there is no legislation that gives full effect to any issue relating to registration of cancer patients in Nigeria”.

Sequel to the overwhelming support on the bill, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila referred to the House Committee on Healthcare Services for further legislative action.

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