Smoking, excessive alcohol intake increases risk of colon cancer- Expert warns
Dr Ehiatamah Ehinomem, an Oncologist with National Hospital, Abuja, has advised Nigerians to avoid smoking and indulging in excessive intake of alcohol to reduce risk of developing colon cancer.
Ehinomem gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
According to him, genetic mutation, exposure to radiation emitting from phones, computers, micro waves, electrical gadgets, viral and bacterial infections are factors that can also predispose an individual to cancer.
He explained that cancer is a malignant growth in the body where normal cells are made abnormal by certain factors, noting that breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancers are more common in Nigeria.
Ehinomem explained that colon is a part of the digestive system, called the large intestine and known as the gastro intestinal tramp.
“When there is a cancerous growth or tumour on the colon it leads to colon cancer which is characterized as out of control cell growth.
“Symptoms of colon cancer include change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation, change in consistency of stool.
“Others are rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain in the abdomen.
“Colon Cancer can be managed through radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy depending on the level of the disease,’’ he said.
The Oncologist said that colon cancer was more common among women, prominent among older people of 50 years and above with few cases of people in their 30s and late 20s.
Ehinomem mentioned that inflammation and obesity are other factors that pose the risk for colon cancer, while encouraging individuals susceptible to the diseases to consume more vegetables and fruit to avert the disease.
He called on government to create more awareness on cancer in rural communities and further improve the health insurance scheme for Nigerians, especially the poor and middle class citizens.
He identified early diagnosis and adherent to treatment as crucial to saving lives, while urging patients to desist from patronizing herbal and traditional medicines.
“Traditional and herbal preparations have not been shown or proven to cure cancers. If anyone thinks otherwise, they can let us know and demonstrate it.
“We are opened to learning with evidence-based facts,’’ he said.