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A picture of Buhari released to quell rumours that he is dead

Buhari health watch: Concern deepens

President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria on 19 January for what his handlers called a “medical vacation” in the UK. He was due to return on 6 February. A day before that date, his spokesman claimed that the return has been delayed because the president needed “further tests”. There was no mention of what the tests were or for and no mention of when he should be back in Nigeria.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo claimed yesterday that he spoke to the president, briefed him on several issues and that Buhari was “hale and hearty”

Soon after the president departed for the UK, a couple of dodgy online publications claimed he had died while receiving treatment for some unknown ailment. Another claimed he was in a coma. His handlers then rushed out pictures of the president watching TV, receiving visitors and so on. But many sceptics were not convinced that the president was in rude health. Many called for him to speak to Nigerians to dispel the rumours.

A source has now revealed to that the president is suffering from pancreatic cancer and it is “terminal”. The pancreas is part of the digestive system and is in the upper part of the stomach. Macmillan Cancer Support provides some guidance on this form of cancer: “Types of pancreatic cancer can be described by where they are found in the pancreas and by the type of cell that they start from.

“Cancer can occur in any part of the pancreas, but around 6 or 7 in every 10 pancreatic cancers (60–70%) start in the head of the pancreas.

“There are several different types of pancreatic cancer. The most common type is ductal adenocarcinoma, which starts from cells in the lining of the pancreatic ducts. More than 9 out of 10 pancreatic cancers (95%) are ductal adenocarcinomas.

“Cancer may develop at the ampulla of Vater, where the bile and pancreatic ducts join up and enter the small bowel (duodenum). This is called ampullary cancer.

“Other, less common, types of pancreatic cancer include:

  • cystic tumours– cysts are fluid-filled sacs in the pancreas, which can be cancerous
  • acinar cell carcinomas– these start from the cells that make pancreatic juice
  • neuroendocrine tumours– these begin in the endocrine cells where insulin and other hormones are made
  • lymphoma– this is a cancer of the lymphatic tissue in the pancreas.”

They also state that: “Pancreatic cancer may not cause symptoms for a long time. Common symptoms are pain or discomfort, jaundice and weight loss”.

The president’s weight loss is evident to the untrained eye. It is difficult to speculate what this illness means for him and the country. He may defeat the illness, but can he continue in office while receiving treatment and managing the disease? How long will he and his handlers wait before informing Nigerians? How is the uncertainty affecting the economy?

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