LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICEOFNAIJA)- The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has disclosed that 746 Nigerians die annually due to complications from mouth cancer.
This disclosure was made in a keynote address at the oral cancer training with the theme: ‘The use of artificial intelligence in the early detection of oral cancer and oral potentially malignant disorders,’ organized by Cleft and Facial Deformity Foundation in Abuja.
The Minister, represented by the head of dentistry division of the ministry, Dr Gloria Uzoigwe, expressed concern over the devastating effect of oral cancer and the fact that so many people are uninformed.
Uzoigwe revealed that Nigeria also records 1,146 new cases of oral cancers annually.
Oral cancer remains one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths in Nigeria due to late reporting in hospitals, and inability of healthcare workers to detect the lesion early and refer appropriately among others.
The minister further disclosed the government’s plans to launch a new oral health policy in November.
Executive Director, CFDF, Seidu Bello, said artificial intelligence helps in early detection of oral cancers and oral potentially malignant disorders.
He said it could be used to predict with more than 90 percent accuracy that someone could develop cancer in another 10 years.
The use of artificial intelligence for oral health was currently close to zero level in Nigeria, he added.
Tope Adeyemi, President of the Nigerian Dental Association, represented by the Secretary-General of the association, Ukachi Nnawuihe, urged full integration of oral health in the primary healthcare services in the country to ensure easy access to oral healthcare.
Prof. Bukola Folashade Adeyemi, from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, identified use of tobacco and alcohol, oral sex and intense use of foods prepared over naked flames such as suya, continuous infections in the mouth, as risk factors for oral cancer in Nigeria.