The President of Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologist of Nigeria (ARCON), Dr Nwamaka Lasebikan, has expressed concern over the state of implementation of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines recently adopted by the federal ministry of Health as the standard of care for cancer management.
She noted it at the just concluded one day symposium, themed: “Optimizing the Standard of Care for Breast Cancer in Nigeria” in Enugu.
She expressed worry over the rising incidence of cancer and the poor outcomes even with treatment, attributing part of it to poor standardizarion of evidence based care.
She called on the need to close the care gap and generally improve both the quality of life and the clinical outcomes in patients with breast cancer through widespread implementation of the harmonized guideline to ensure that breast cancer care is optimal and standardized across Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
While reacting, the Consultant/Associate Director National Cancer Control Program, who represented the Minister of Health, Mr. Uchechukwu Nwokwu, re-emphasised governments commitment to provide adequate access to standardized cancer care in the country through programmes such as the ongoing Cancer Health Funds.
He stressed the FGNs adoption of the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines and the need for healthcare workers to abide by it.
Stakeholders in attendance at the symposium were; the Minister of Health ably represented by Mr. Uchechukwu Emmanuel Nwokwu, The Enugu State Commissioner for Health,Dr Ikechukwu Obi, The National President of Nigerian Medical Association [NMA] represented by the Enugu State Chapter Chairman Dr Tony Onyia.
Others are , the Chief Medical Director of UNTH represented by Prof Val Ugwu,the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) Enugu State Chapter DR Ijeoma Obianyo, Prof Ifeoma Okoye, Consultant Radiologist, Prof Emmanuel Ezeome ,Vice President West African College of Surgeons amongst other professors and Oncology consultants.
The symposium featured several lectures from seasoned experts in oncology on topics such as standardizing breast cancer care through guideline adherence, some predictive and prognostic biomarkers in decision making for breast cancer were highlighted and there were also panel discussions on how to maximize the multidisciplinary team approach using a selected case presented.
Other activities at the symposium also featured a session which involved all participants to identify barriers and explore solutions to the poor adherence of the NCCN Harmonized guideline.