The first Sunday in June every year (Sunday, June 7 in 2020) is known as the International Cancer Survivors Day (ICSD). It is a day set aside to celebrate cancer survivors; appreciate all those who contributed to their survival (the ‘co-survivors’); honor the fallen warriors (those who have succumbed to cancer) whilst raising awareness on the ongoing challenges facing cancer survivors.

A cancer survivor is a person who has a history of cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the remainder of life. There are currently 43.8 million cancer survivors worldwide.

THE BAD NEWS: according to WHO, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are now responsible for over 70% of global deaths (killing 41 million people) each year, with cancer being a leading cause of death and the single most important barrier to increasing life expectancy in every country of the world in the 21stcentury.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has been unforgiving on people living with NCDs and has compounded the challenges faced by cancer survivors, who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19-related illness and death. Although this impact of COVID-19 is global, developing countries are worse hit.

In Nigeria, COVID-19 poses a uniquely quadruple jeopardy for cancer patients – firstly, the increased susceptibility of cancer patients to COVID-19; secondly, the dearth of infrastructure for cancer care; thirdly, restriction on medical tourism due to the lockdown; and finally, the diversion of scarce resources towards addressing the COVID-19 crisis…. Continue reading below

 

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