Cancer treatment in Nigeria costs nearly N30 million per patient

THE number of Nigerians that die annually because of cancer has continued to rise, but the problem lies more in the cost of accessing treatment than in any other factor.

RISING cases of cancer and the cost implications of treatment are putting Nigerians on the edge of paying for cancer treatment with their lives, says Runcie C.W. Chidebe, Executive Director, Project Pink Blue Health and Psychological Trust Centre, a cancer-fighting organisation.

He said this at a press conference on Thursday to create awareness for the upcoming event titled ‘Show Love’, a music and comedy fundraising show for cancer patients billed to hold at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja on November 15, 2018.

The event, which, is a fundraising programme of the organisation is focused on encouraging and engaging Nigerians to financially support indigent people suffering from cancer.

“We can create awareness, provide screening, oncology education, but, if we do not provide financial support to cancer patients for treatment, then our circle of care is not complete and very few lives can be saved,” says Chidebe.

According to a report on catastrophic health fund for oncology care, women in Nigeria needs about N2.1 million to N29.2 million to treat breast cancer depending on the type of breast cancer.

The woman would have to go through different stages of diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgeries among others to get treated. This includes eight series of diagnosis that cost between N232,000 to N311,000; three surgeries which cost N670,000 to N3.3 million; 10 sessions of chemotherapy that cost about N916,000 to N2.6 million and finally 10-23 sessions of radiotherapy, which may cost N138,000 to N360,000.



    In April, the federal government launched the National Cancer Control Plan (2018-2022) through the federal ministry of finance. The five-year plan defined strategies and roadmap to undertake cancer control effort in the country. The plan aims to scale up survivorship of cancer patients.

    The plan stipulates that Nigeria require N93 billion ($380 million) to reduce the burden of cancer in Nigeria for the next five years. Details from the 2018 budget show that N180,980,579 ($593,379) was allocated for cancer control programme.

    According to the 2018 Wolrd Health Organisation (WHO)/Globacan report, there are 115,950 new cases of cancer annually and 70,327 cancer death in Nigeria.

    Cancer control allocation in the 2018 budget can only rescue 2,573 people from dying of cancer as against the over 70,000 people who die of cancer disease annually in Nigeria.

    Head of Data Unit, International Centre For Investigative Reporting, ICIR.
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