In a renewed effort to bring quality care closer to patients, Lakeshore Cancer Centre (LCC) has formally launched its operations in Nigeria.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which took place in the state-of-the-art facility in Victoria Island, Lagos, on 24 January, 2015 witnessed a massive turnout of participants.
Aside offering skeletal services since July 2014, LCC is solely designed by a team of global experts on surgical and radiation oncology, for high quality prevention and treatment of cancer.
Affiliated to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo, New York, USA, Lakeshore Cancer Centre is the oldest cancer centre in the world. The RPCI provides training, education and clinical care oversight and research programmes to the centre.
Speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director at LCC, Dr Chumy Nwogu, noted that cancer kills more people globally than malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) combined, and disproportionately affects low to middle income countries like Nigeria.
He explained that the 2012 data of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, stipulates 102,079 new cancer cases every year and 71,571 cancer deaths annually in Nigeria.
“This is probably a marked underestimation, as cancer registration is really poor in Nigeria. Over 70 per cent of patients die despite the fact that we do not capture all of them – over 20 percent of people with cancer are still not captured. This is because many patients usually seek alternative treatments, traditional healers or prayer houses. These numbers are predicted to rise dramatically over the next few years,” Nwogu disclosed.
The medical director, who is a highly respected cancer epidemiologist and thoracic surgical oncologist, further stated that, “the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that one third of cancers can be prevented, one third cured and one third effectively palliated; hence the great need for education, screening and early detection.”
He said the LCC is committed to providing cancer patients with tools for early detection, diagnosis and consultation with excellent oncologists, without having to travel away from loved ones at home.
The centre also launched the Foundation for Cancer Care in West Africa (FCCWA) to provide cancer care to the less privileged in Nigeria and across West Africa.
“The treatment for cancer is capital intensive and long term, so most individuals cannot sustain the cost. The Foundation is therefore focused on fostering collaboration between government agencies, corporate organisations, various medical facilities and advocacy groups. Philanthropic donations are always welcome and much appreciated for the care of cancer in West Africa,” Nwogu explained.
Also speaking at the event, Associate Professor of Oncology at the RPCI, Dr Tracey O’Connor, said that early screening and detection are indispensable in the prevention and management of cancer.
“Three cancers – breast, cervical and prostate – claim the highest number of lives in Nigeria. But all of them, if brought to medical attention early in their development, are highly curable. So, basically, testing and early detection can hugely reduce fatalities,” she stated.
O’Connor counselled Nigerians to go for screening. She also recommended the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for young girls of 11 to 12 years.
“The vaccine is to prevent the human papillomavirus which cause most cervical cancers,” she explained.
Wife of the Lagos State Commissioner for Transport, Mrs Abiodun Opeifa, who represented the First Lady, Mrs Abimbola Fashola, commended the LCC for establishing “this great cancer facility in Lagos State. This will sure increase awareness about cancer prevention and treatment; and drasticallyreduce incidences of preventable cancer deaths.”
The LCC provides diagnostic imaging services, mammography, pap smear, laboratory services, public education awareness, tissue biopsis, outpatient operative procedures chemotherapy services, and palliative care. The facility also provides minor surgery, oncology consultation, cancer treatment planning as well as outpatient pharmacy.