President Muhammadu Buhari is suffering from an acute prostate cancer that has reached metastasis stage and may have to be away from Nigeria for not less than six months to undergo chemotherapy treatment, otherwise known as chemo, SaharaReporters has learnt. Source revealed that the President, who is being treated at The Princess Grace Hospital, 42–52 Nottingham Place, London collapsed last week when the first medicine was tried on him, forcing his doctors to suspend the chemotherapy treatment immediately.
A medical expert said; “When cancer has reached a metastasis stage, it means that the cancer cells have spread from the primary site of origin (where it started) into different area(s) of the body, including the bones. “Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancerous drugs designed to shrink and control the size of the cancer while prostatectomy surgery is performed by an urologist to remove the entire prostate in order to remove the cancerous cells. “Chemo drugs are administered by doctors in cycles, with each period of treatment followed by a rest period to allow the body time to recover. Each cycle typically lasts for a few weeks.”
The source disclosed that President Buhari had been battling prostate cancer for more than five years and he had been advised to undergo chemotherapy treatment or a prostatectomy surgery, which will keep him out of the country for not less than six months, but fear of losing power made him declined. With each cycle of the chemo treatment expected to last for three to four weeks, the entire cycles is expected to last for more than six months. Apart from the danger of being away for more than six months, fear is also being expressed concerning the side effects of the chemo drugs on the President because of his age.
Though chemo drugs are said to kill fast-growing cancer cells, the drugs also travel throughout the body and can affect normal, healthy cells that are fast-growing, too. Damage to these healthy cells causes side effects such as urine and bladder changes and kidney problems, chemo brain that which can affect concentration and focus, mood changes, fatigue and hair loss. Other side effects of chemo drugs are; easy bruising and bleeding, mouth, tongue, and throat problems such as sores and pain with swallowing, anaemia (low red blood cell counts), nausea and vomiting, appetite changes, constipation, diarrhoea among others.
It should be recalled that President Buhari had on January 19 written the National Assembly, notifying the legislature that he was proceeding on a 10-day leave from January 23 to February 6, and temporarily transferring presidential power to Vice-president Yemi Osinbajo. The leave was supposed to last 10 work days, between January 23 and February 6, according to the letter transmitted to both chambers of the National Assembly. However, instead of waiting till January 23 that the leave was to commence, the President hurriedly traveled on Thursday, January 19, not minding that Vice President Osinbajo was outside the country.
Presidency source disclosed that instead of landing at Heathrow Airport, the Presidential Jet that took President Buhari to London landed at London City Airport and he was moved to Princess Grace Hospital with air ambulance. Social media was agog with stories of the President’s death, which was debunked by his aides, especially his Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina, Senior Special Assistant on Media, Garba Shehu and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed. However, while the President was being expected in the country on Sunday, Femi Adesina issued a three-paragraph press statement later on Sunday, stating that the president had extended his medical vacation. Adesina, who for the first time admitted that the President was sick, did not disclose when the president will return.
He said the extension is; “in order to complete and receive the results of a series of tests recommended by his doctors.” “The President had planned to return to Abuja this evening, but was advised to complete the test cycle before returning,” a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said. “The notice has since been dispatched to the Senate President, and Speaker, House of Representatives. “Mr. President expresses his sincere gratitude to Nigerians for their concern, prayers and kind wishes.”
The extension of his vacation means Prof Osinbajo will continue to exercise presidential powers for days or weeks to come. This is the third time President Buhari has transferred power to Osinbajo since the two leaders were inaugurated in May 2015. The first time was on February 5, 2016 when the President embarked on a five-day vacation; and the second was in June 2016 when Buhari travelled to the United Kingdom for treatment of what the Presidency described as ear infection.