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Cancer: Expert calls for inclusion of human papillomavirus, hepatitis in routine immunisation

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The Chairperson, African Cancer Initiative (ACAI), Dr Obasohan Efe, has called for the inclusion of human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis in a routine immunisation, saying that they were the major cause of cancers in the world.

Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection while experts say most sexually active men and women are being exposed to the virus at some points during their lifetime.Human papillomavirus causes cervical cancer in women and genital warts in men and women.

Hepatitis on the other hand refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver commonly caused by a viral infection, though experts believe that there are other possible causes of hepatitis, including autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occur as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins and alcohol.

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EFe made the call in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lafia.

Efe, who is also a volunteer with the Moole Charity Foundation, said cigarette smoking, human papillomavirus and hepatitis B and C were the major causes of cancer.

According to him, cancer is rampant in Nigeria, adding that thousands of people are diagnosed of cancer annually, noting that about 80, 000 Nigerians die of various cancers annually.

“HPV and hepatitis B and C are the commonly sexually transmitted infections in the world and they are also the leading cause of cervical and liver cancer death worldwide.

“HPV and hepatitis B and C that cause cervical and liver cancers vaccination are available, this simple immunisation can reduce the burdens of hepatitis B and HPV related cancers and death.

“If Federal Government include and integrate HPV, hepatitis B and C and other diseases not yet covered into routine immunisation schedule in the country, it will reduce the burden of cancers,” he said.

The expert has appealed to federal government to support cancers patients who are undergoing treatment in Nigeria.

“Cancer patients in Nigeria are suffering a lot, because the linear accelerator needed to deliver radiation therapy is limited, it is few centres that have it, people have to travel distance places to access care.

“Nigeria has a low number of clinical oncology, both medical and surgical, this is not good for giant of Africa, therefore, Federal Government should train more professionals that will involve in cancer care.”

On his part, Dr Ogungbemi Olalekan, the founder of Moole Charity Foundation, appealed to government to enforcing laws that would stop cigarette smoking in public places to reduce prevalent cancers in Nigeria.


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