Experts seek disease mortality register, plan study on annual cost in country
Breast, cervical, prostate, colorectal tumours constitute 52.7% of all cases
To stop the deaths of 70,327 lives lost yearly to cancer,
Nigeria needs over N19.46 billion yearly for prevention, diagnosis and
treatment, hospice and palliative care, advocacy, data management and research,
and governance and finance.
According to the National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP) 2018
–2022, Nigeria needs to spend N97,321,725,422.53 (N97.3 billion) on cancer
treatment and care in five years. A breakdown showed that the country plans to
spend N19.46 billion on cancer treatment and care yearly.
The NCCP 2018 –2022 has provided cost estimates for the five-year period of the NCCP so that stakeholders know the cost required to operationalise the plan. It also provided the cost estimates to be used for advocacy and resource mobilisation from stakeholders (international donors and local private sector, civil society, and government in the fight against cancer in Nigeria.
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A further breakdown of the figures showed that N60,508,390,843.09 (N60.5 billion) is for prevention; N59,508,662.50 (N59.5 million) for diagnosis and treatment; N272,032,497.06 (N272 million) for hospice and palliative care; N418,153,850.83 (N418.15 million) for advocacy; N419,787,613.31 (N419.78 million) for data management and research; N35,551,788,079.18 (N35.55 billion) for supply chain management (logistics); and N92,063,876.56 (N92 million) for governance and finance.
Also, current mortality estimates from modelling using
incidence mortality rates derived from cancer registry data in GLOBOCAN 2018
showed cancer killed 70,327 and afflicted 115,950 Nigerians in 2018.
The GLOBOCAN 2018 data for Nigeria showed breast, cervical,
prostate, and colorectal tumours constitute 52.7 per cent of all cases.
GLOBOCAN 2018 is an online database providing estimates of
incidence and mortality in 185 countries for 36 types of cancer, and for all
cancer sites combined.
Meanwhile, unlike in the United States (US) where the
overall lost earnings were $94.4 billion, and $191,900 per cancer death and lost
earnings were $29.0 million per 100,000 population overall, according to a new
United States (US) analysis published in JAMA Oncology, Nigeria does to have
Why? A professor of Radiology, College of Medicine,
University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Enugu, Enugu State, Ifeoma Okoye, and the
Medical Director, International Research Centre of Excellence, (IRCE) Institute
of Human Virology, Abuja, Dr. Elima Jedy-Agba, told The Guardian that the
amount of money Nigeria loses to cancer yearly is difficult to compute because
the country does not have national mortality register and does not know the
exact numbers of deaths from cancer.
Okoye and Jeddy-Agba said another reason is that the cancer
cases particularly those in rural Nigeria or who are self employed like traders
do not have information on their annual income that is for those who work and
support families and whose income would be lost should they die from cancer.
Okoye, who is also the Director of UNN Centre For Clinical
Trials, said this could be a research question, which needed to be investigated
in a proper research study, “To estimate the annual cost of cancer in a
particular state or geographic region in Nigeria” or “The annual cost of cancer
care in Nigeria”.
Until now, several studies have shown that cancer deaths
impose significant economic burden in Nigeria because of productivity losses
due to premature death. Experts are unanimous that accurate information on the
economic burden of cancer mortality can help in setting policies and
prioritizing resources for cancer prevention and control.
However, contemporary data are lacking for not just in
Nigeria but also in the United States nationally and by state.
According to the JAMA Oncology study, a total of 492,146
cancer deaths occurred in people ages 16 to 84 in the in 2015, translating to a
total of 8,739,939 life years lost. The study identified which cancers and
which states are associated with the greatest cost.
To update estimated lost earnings due to death from cancer,
investigators led by Dr. Farhad Islami calculated person-years of life lost
using numbers of cancer deaths and life expectancy data in individuals aged 16
to 84 years who died from cancer in the United States in 2015. They created
estimates for cancer deaths overall and for the major cancers in the United
States nationally and by state. The estimates are for lost earnings alone, and
do not include other costs associated with cancer, including costs of treatment
Islami said: “Years of life lost and lost earnings were high
for many cancers for which there are modifiable risk factors and effective
screening and treatment, which suggests that a substantial proportion of our
current national mortality burden is potentially avoidable.
“Applying comprehensive cancer prevention interventions and
ensuring equitable access to high-quality care across all states could reduce
the burden of cancer and associated geographic and other differences in the
Health care professionals can contribute to achieving this
goal because they play a central role in the delivery of cancer prevention,
screening, and treatment.”