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Expert raises concern over high rate of cancer in Calabar

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Ahead of the World Cancer Day on February 7, Head of Department of Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine, College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar (UNICAL), Prof. Ima-Obong Ekanem, has raised concern over the high rate of cancer among women and men in Calabar.

The director in the Calabar Cancer Registry disclosed that recent studies had shown a very high rate of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma among women.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system.

While calling for further investigations, Ekanem said the study, which was conducted by the registry between 2009 and 2013, did not state why women in Calabar were the most affected in the area.

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According to her, there is relatively high incidence of prostate cancer and Kaposi sarcoma in men.

The expert explained, “According to the study, HIV-associated cancer such as cervical cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma and Lymphoma are among the most common cancers in Calabar.”

“The study disclosed that breast cancer is a leading case of cancers in women just as it is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women worldwide where 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed few years ago.”

“It said that men in their 40s are mostly affected by cancer. The age-specific incidence of prostate cancer, which is the leading cancer among men in Calabar, rises sharply from age 40 to 44. This possibly may be due to an increased number of urologists in the teaching hospital during the period of this study leading to more cases being diagnosed.

“Over a third of all cancers are preventable by reducing exposure to risk factors,” the expert said, recommending early detection by screening.

Ekanem advised, “However, such screening is not affordable by majority of the women. For these detection programmes to be effective, a strong healthcare system must be in place to provide equity of access to diagnosis, treatment and palliative care of all cancer patients.”

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