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Early detection, treatment can mitigate cancer development, say experts

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Cancer cells

Cancer cells

Cancer can be cured and prevented if detected early and treated adequately through the appropriate means, as well as avoiding certain risk factors, medical professionals have stressed.

Cancer figures among the leading causes of death worldwide and according to statistical report by World Health Organization (WHO), accounts for 13 per cent of all deaths registered globally and 70 per cent of that figure occurs in middle and low income countries.

In Nigeria, about 10, 000 cancer deaths are recorded yearly with 250, 000 new cases every year. Chief Medical Director, EKO Hospital, Lagos, Mr. Olusegun Odukoya, at the hospital’s end of the year party organised for cancer patients told The Guardian that the prevalence of cancer could be prevented and reduced by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, which include: tobacco and alcohol intake, obesity, unhealthy diet, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity and sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

He stated that, although, research is still on going to ascertain the cause of the deadly disease, there are several causative factors
that predisposes the development of cancer, such as genetic, dietary and environmental factors which if detected and treated early could reduce the widespread of the disease in humans.

According to him, cancer is gender oriented and could be passed down from one generation to another, while some could be contracted through unhealthy lifestyle and infections.

He said: “Smoking is associated with cancer of the lungs; chronic alcoholism is known to increase the incidence of cancer of the liver. Dietary habits and exercise are important in reducing the pre-eminence of the incidence of cancer. Furthermore, infections can also be the cause of cancer, for instance, cancer of the cervix is caused by HPV which results from multiple sexual practice transmission.

“In the case of breast cancer in females, self-examination of the breast is very important. If she notices a lump, she should see a
medical practitioner for further examination, so that it could be detected and treated early. Cancer can also be prevented through
immunisation of the adolescent, which reduces the development of the cervical cancer caused by the HPV. Other preventable issues include daily physical exercise, healthy dietary, as well as medical checkups.”

Also a Radiotherapist, Oncologist and the Head of Department, Radiotherapy, EKO Hospital, Prof. Josbert Duncan expressed concern over the level of cancer awareness among individuals.He said early detection of cancer increases the tendency of its cure despite been a deadly disease, adding that self-examination and medical consultation could prevent it from spreading further in the human body.

He said, “It is important that our public should know the level of their intelligence with respect to the general knowledge of cancer and
its management. Early detection of cancer saves lives, and you cannot detect it if you are not knowledgeable.

“All cancers are deadly, and are also curable if you get it in time,some can be visible, like swelling in the breast, skin cancers and
others, while some are invisible, like tumor in the kidney, all you see is blood when urinating, if you do the proper thing and it is
quickly diagnosed, it would be dealt with”.

Mrs. Joy Ibude, who survived cancer for seven years also shared her experience. She was diagnosed of “grade 1 Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma”, which has to do with the salivary gland. She said it all started in 2008, but due to ignorance, it was discovered and detected as cancer in 2010.

Though, it was traumatic, she took the necessary steps by undergoing medical treatments (Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy) and in 2012 she was declared free of cancer, ever since then, she has maintained a healthy lifestyle and eating the appropriate diet to avoid further occurrence of cancer.


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