By Mercy Enulue

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the world cancer Day on February 4, Haematologist, Dr Ukoma Chi-Kadibia, has called for better awareness of the disease since early detection is the key to survival.
Speaking to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to mark the world cancer Day in Keffi he said the theme for the 2022 commemoration is “close the care gap”.

Chi-Kadibia said Nigerians need to know the importance of going to the hospital early to ensure early detection and treatment before it gets out of hand.
He reiterated the fact that cancer is real adding that people need to be proactive about the screening and the risk factors that cause the disease.
According to him, many people in Nigeria still do not believe that Leukaemia or blood cancers insisting that many still believe it’s caused by some kind of witchcraft that sucks ones blood until the person dies.
Continuing Chi-Kadibia said when they eventually come to the hospital and diagnosis is made, most of them still leave the hospital for spiritual homes and traditional healers, believing that it’s not disease that can be treated in the hospital.

“This of course increase the mortality rate associated with blood cancers.”

He added that Leukaemia Care Plus Initiative (LCPI)was birthed in 2015 but later registered in 2016 with the aim of demystifying blood and lymphatic cancers and support for affected patients.
This he said is to help them to live in dignity and grace by providing precise information, creating awareness, helping patient to navigate the care process without stress and advocating for a better and inclusive care for our blood cancer patients which he said is their way to close the care gap.
He also emphasized the fact that blood cancer is real adding that it is killing people in Nigeria saying that early detection is the key to survival.

Chi-Kadibia added that in the USA, the average five-year survival rate for all types of Leukaemia is 65.8%.
“That means 69 of every 100 person with Leukaemia are likely to live at five years after diagnosis while only one out of every 20 Nigerian with Leukaemia survives.
According to the National cancer institute, amongst patients diagnosed with Leukaemia, 94% death rate occurs in Nigeria.
He said it should be a source of worry for every person doing that all hands must be on deck to correct the anomaly and close the gap in blood cancer management in Nigeria.
Chi-Kadibia enumerated some of their achievement to close the care gap include setting up a GeneXpert PCR Molecular diagnosis and monitoring for CML patients at National Hospital Abuja Worth over $16,000 with support of the international CML foundation (ICLF)and the max foundations.

He said they have done over 40 free BCR-ABL Molecular testing for CML patients
He said they have also supported about 20 CML patients with transport Grant to access thier treatment at the OAUTH, Ile-Ife.
He advised patients to seek treatment when they notice rectal bleeding, blood in the stool, a change in bowel habits or shape, the feeling that the bowel is not completely empty cramping pain in the lower abdomen, decreased appetite or wieght loss.
Also speaking, the Head of Mission, Nigeria Youth Initiative for peace and Good Governance, Mr John Mainasara commended him on their consistency in educating the people on the disease

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