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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 84-88

Radiotherapy in Nigeria: Current status and future challenges

1 Department of Radiation Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Radiology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
3 Department of Radiation Oncology, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Kenneth Chima Nwankwo
Department of Radiation Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, PMB 01129, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1115-1474.121099

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Aims: Incidence of cancer is on the increase and the greater proportion of that increase is from developing countries. About 50-60% of the cancer cases will require radiotherapy at least once during the course of the treatment. This paper is an effort to appraise the present radiotherapy capacity to treat cancer in Nigeria and to project its future challenges and development. Materials and Methods: The available radiotherapy centers in Nigeria were identified and information about the types and number of radiotherapy equipments, imaging systems, personnel, and training capacity were obtained. Results: In 2001, there were five radiotherapy centers with six megavoltage therapy machines in Nigeria comprising of five cobalt-60 and one linear accelerator. The population of the country then was 120 million, that is, one therapy machine for a population of about 20 million. By the end of 2010 the number of megavoltage therapy machines has reached eight with one therapy machine situated in each of eight radiotherapy centers, but the population has equally increased to more than 155 million giving only a marginal improvement in the radiotherapy service. Conclusion: There has been an increase of radiotherapy centers in Nigeria however, the number of available facilities is grossly inadequate and there is dearth of trained personnel. Careful and strategic planning is needed to develop manpower capabilities in all fields of specialization related to radiotherapy service in order to adequately care for the multitude of cancer patients.

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