As a way of adequately combating and sensitising people against cancer, the Rivers State government, yesterday, announced the setting up of a Cancer Prevention and Support Committee.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Theophillus Odagme, made the announcement yesterday, at the state secretariat after a sensitisation walk, as part of its Awareness campaign to mark this year’s World Cancer Day.
Cancer Day, celebrated February 4, every year aims to raise awareness of cancer among the public and press government to take action against the disease.
Dr. Odagme, who applauded non-governmental and corporate organisations that have partnered with the state government on the awareness programme, also announced the setting up of a Cancer Registry at the state-owned Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital, BSMH, with support from UPTH that will collate data of cancer patients from all 23 local governments of the state.
According to him, cancer only becomes a killer disease when not detected early, and called on the public to always seek help where they suspect any change in their body system.
He further informed that government would support and strengthen diagnostic facilities and as well assist those with cancer in the state, adding that government will also hold regular interactions with all support cancer groups in the state.
“As government and individuals, we can reduce the number of persons dying of cancer to barest minimum. The message we have today is, if we work together, of we reach out to the unreached together; because cancer does not know the reach or poor.
“Cancer is not a spiritual problem; it’s a disease that if detected early can be cured. But because we don’t avail ourselves of the diagnostic facilities and treatment early, it appears to be a death sentence,” he added.
This year’s theme for the Cancer Day is “We Can, I Can”. World Cancer burden is said to be 14.1 million and 8.2 million persons were said to have died of cancer between 2012-13, of which 4 million of those who died were between the age bracket of 30-60 years.

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