Cancers: FG, Netherlands’ cancer equipment manufacturers explore deployment of early detection machine

Cancers: FG, Netherlands’ cancer equipment manufacturers explore deployment of early detection machine

The Federal government is in discussions with a Netherlands-based cancer equipment manufacturer to potentially introduce Oncoseek, a cancer detection machine, in Nigeria to enhance early detection efforts in the country’s fight against cancer.

According to data from the Global Cancer Observatory, Nigeria recorded 127,763 new cancer cases and 79,542 deaths in 2022.

For both sexes, the data showed that breast cancer had the most figures with an estimated 32,278 cases (25.3 percent); followed by prostate cancer with 18,019 cases (14.1 percent); cervical cancer with 13,676 (10.7 percent); colorectum cancer with 8,114 (6.4 percent); Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer 5,194 (4.1 percent); and others 50,482 (39.5 percent).

Peter Kapirein, President of Inspire2live, the organization behind the equipment, while stressing the importance of early detection in addressing the challenge of cancer, said early detection, which is only possible if people submit themselves to examination early is the value Oncoseek is bringing to the table.

Oncoseek, an artificial intelligence algorithm with the ability to detect nine types of cancer from just one tube of blood, achieves an impressive accuracy of 84.3% in producing a cancer probability score.

Kapirein spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at a stakeholders’ awareness and sensitization meeting organized by the Partnership for Eradication of Cancer in Africa (PECA), where he said awareness about early detection is critical to combating cancer.

He said: “To make a difference in early detection of cancer because the sooner the detection of cancer, the better the chances for curation and from what I understood from, most people come in at the late stage to the hospital and when you come in at late stage, there are almost no options anymore for treatment or for curation. “But if the patient comes in early at stage 1 or 2, then quite often, the surgeon or the radiotherapist can do a good job which means that these people, when you get them, as soon as possible to the position being diagnosed, then they get a lot of options for a good quality of life.

“This is where this equipment is critical to the cancer question. The machine analyzes the blood for nine types of cancers, uploads the data and scores the result based on percentages of no danger of cancer, rechecks between three to six months and a need for confirmative diagnosis”. Kapirein expressed his satisfaction with the enthusiasm shown by both the Federal government and the private sector after productive discussions regarding the deployment of Oncoseek in the country.

“The Nigerian government is very interested in the equipment that has been deployed in other countries in Europe and Africa.

“We were at the National Hospital and they were very eager to have it. The private sector has shown great reception for the equipment and I’m optimistic that we might start to deploy them from this year”, Kapirein added.

He also stated that Nigeria is being given special consideration by the manufacturers being in the bracket of the Low and Medium Income Countries (LMICs) to make the easy-to-use equipment accessible and affordable.

The President of the Defence and Police Officers’ Wives Association (DEPOWA), Oghogho Musa, in the group’s goodwill message at the meeting, described Oncoseek as a proactive step to combat cancer

“We are certain that this new innovation, ONCOSEEK, will bridge identified gaps because of its unique ability to detect various other cancers not only breast and cervical cancers.

“This will most certainly increase the impetus in the drive for early detection, early treatment and a positive health outcome and wellbeing”, she said.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, PECA’s President, Benjamin Ogbalor noted that the innovative diagnostic tool couldn’t have come at a better time, given the rising burden of cancer in the world and with particular reference to Nigeria.

While he noted that cancer is now the second leading cause of death globally resulting in severe physical, emotional and financial strains on individuals, families, communities and the health systems, Ogbalor pointed out that cancer-related deaths and the financial burden it exerts can be significantly reduced when cancers are detected early.

“It is therefore the collective responsibility of men and women of goodwill to be part of the effort to create the awareness on the imperative of early-detection of cancer and to be part of the advocacy to battle the scourge of cancer in the world”, he said.