OrderPaperToday – The Senate at its plenary on Wednesday considered and approved the establishment of a National Centre for Cancer Research and Treatment in Nigeria.

This was sequel to the consideration of a bill being fronted by Senator Yakubu Oseni (APC, Kogi Central) during the plenary.

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The bill according to the sponsor, was read for the first time in the Red Chamber on Wednesday, 16th February 2022. 

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The Bill when passed, among other purposes, will provide a holistic national strategy for dealing with the disease as a serious national health agenda; for educating the general public on the ailment and conserving our national resource.

“The Bill will also harness the required trained manpower and medical professionals towards achieving an accessible, radical curative surgery, operations radiation, chemotherapy and the hormone therapy – all necessary for early detection and management of cancer conditions and other connected purposes in our nation, Nigeria,” he said. 

While leading debate on the general principles of the bill, Oseni noted that the disease has become a global disease of magnitude, with one in every eight (8) women expecting to be either diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer in their lifetime; and for two (2) out of every 10 men expecting to be diagnosed for prostate, lungs and colorectal cancer. 

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He stated that the disease alone is a major cause of global deaths, and was responsible for 7.9 million deaths or 13 percent of all deaths worldwide with 72 per cent of such deaths occurring in middle-income nations such as Nigeria.

“It is also well known that the various forms of cancer disease have been more felt in Africa and Nigeria – where resources and awareness are not readily available for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. 

But what has been even more worrisome to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is that despite the growing increase of cancer globally, the absence of data on the ailment in Nigeria to determine the correct number of persons affected by the ailment, in order to reach effective treatment, finds Nigeria is lagging behind when compared with other countries.

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“The absence of comprehensive national data, you will be alarmed to know that the global information we have nevertheless, shows that the cancer disease is rapidly on the increase in Nigeria. 

It will interest you as much as many of our citizens out there, to know that the control, treatment and research on cancer, has been improving – together in equal measures in the developed countries, and in some developing nations such as India, Brazil, etc. where the efforts of science and improved national strategy against cancer have been harnessed and deployed to fight cancer-related deaths. 

Such achievements were also only made possible through the establishment of advanced cancer research infrastructures, new centres and improved treatment procedures. 

It is my view that the National Centre for Cancer Research and Treatment Bill, 2022 is of great importance to our nation and will give a great boost to our National Health Agenda. 

It is a Bill to save lives and reduce the enormous pain that cancer patients go through as well as reduce the manageable outflow of our national resources to other climes,” Oseni noted. 

The bill after scaling second reading, was referred to the Senate Committee on Health for further legislative input.

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