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April 23, 2024
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Experts advocate increased surveillance to reduce liver cancer deaths

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By Oluwafunke Ishola

A Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist, Dr Anthonia Sowumi, says concerted effort is required to reverse the trend of poor survival and the increasing death ratio of liver cancer in Nigeria.

Sowumi, Associate Professor at the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre, said this during the Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologist of Nigeria (ARCON) symposium on Friday in Lagos.

Sowumi said this while delivering a paper on ”Landscape Of Liver Cancer in Nigeria”.

The event was held to commemorate the World Cancer Day celebrated annually on Feb. 4.

According to her, liver cancer surveillance is a critical intervention that can change the landscape of liver cancer survival in Nigeria.

Sowumi said that Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is the primary malignancy of the liver, noting that it doesn’t show symptoms and it is slow-growing.

She noted that incidence of HCC is highest in Asia and Africa, where the endemic prevalence of hepatitis B and hepatitis C strongly predispose one to the development of chronic liver disease and subsequent development of HCC.

The expert said that published incidences underestimated the true incidence of the tumour in Nigeria, due to under-diagnosis or not being recorded in a cancer registry.

”Most people present with late-stage disease due to a lack of adequate surveillance.

”Median survival rate in Nigeria is three to four months,” she said.

Sowumi said that HCC incidence revealed regional disparities within Nigeria with studies suggesting rates around 11.2 per 100,000 in Maiduguri compared to 4.91 per 100,000 in Ibadan.

”This variability might be linked to differing HBV/HCV prevalence and aflatoxin exposure levels across regions,” she said.

On the way forward, Sowumi advocated for increased screening and surveillance, aggressive campaigns for vaccination and avoidance of intake of aflatoxins, more collaboration in management of liver cancers, among others.

Also, Prof. Uchenna ljoma, Consultant Gastroenterologist, said patient care should be from evaluation to diagnosis and treatment, noting that it impacted patients outcome.

Ijoma said that patients were often diagnosed with liver cancer in advanced stages, contributing to its poor prognosis and survival.

According to her, liver cancers constitute the sixth most common cancer and fourth most common cause of cancer mortality globally.

She noted that liver cancer was the fourth among all new cases of cancer in males, and fourth leading cause of cancer mortality over a five-year period.

Similarly, Dr Amaka Laosebikan, ARCON President, said spotlighting on liver cancer was to draw attention to the increasing incidence of liver cancer in Nigeria.

Laosebikan said that the disease was prevalent among the young male population, stressing that advocating on screening, vaccination, early detection and treatment would save more lives. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)


Edited by Dianabasi Effiong/Vivian Ihechu

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