There is no definite cause for cancer, says Omaliko
Dr Raphael Omaliko is a Consultant of Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and Medical Director of Malix Hospital, Onitsha. Omaliko, also a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons and Fellow International College of Surgeons, in this interview with journalists, said although there is no for cancer, the disease can be prevented and treated when detected early. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes.
Why are cancers becoming more common in Nigeria?
There is no definite cause for cancer, but there are associated factors, which are smoking and tobacco. These are associated with lungs cancer, which is a preventable disease. If you do smoke, you are more likely to have it. We also have poor diet. If you don’t eat well, you are more likely to have cancer. Also, lack of physical activities is implicated. If you don’t exercise you are likely to come down with cancer. Exposure to radiation example X-ray, gamma rays even the sun, may cause cancer of the skin. Viral infections and bacterial infections have been associated with cancer especially in woman, which causes cancer of the cervices (the entrance into the uterus).
Family history is also an important factor in cancer, also known as cancer families, like a woman who have ovarian cancer, the sister is likely to have ovarian cancer and the mother may also have died from ovarian cancer. Multiple sexual partners have been known to be a factor for cancer of the cervix, because the more the partners a woman has the more the probability of coming in contact with Human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a known associated factor for carcinogenesis of the cervix. Toxic chemicals have been known to cause cancer. Alcohol if not taken in moderate quantity can cause cancer. Overweight can cause diabetes, hypertension, and cancer. Age is also a factor.
Children can come down with cancer also like cancer of the eye and cancer of different type of the body but not as much as adult.
What are the solutions the menace of cancer?
So many modalities of a treatment have been enunciated over the years in the management of cancers, the common one is surgery that is operating on the tumour to eradicate the diseases. In many cases such surgeries are usually radical surgeries to contain the cancer.
Other forms of treatment are radiation, it has been found to be very significant in the treatment of cancer, if it is seen early. We also have chemotherapy that is the use of drugs, these drugs are usually toxic and hard drugs that can damage the cancer cells and equally damage some of the normal cells. The combination of the modalities like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation depending on the tumour, and immunotherapy has been tried. Research is still going on in these areas, hyperemic immunotherapy that is using heat combination with immunotherapy; photodynamic therapy where they use a type of photo to contain the cancer; and hormones are also be used. The use of these modalities will depend on the stage of the cancer; the treatment will be determined by the stages like 1-4.
What are the types of cancer?
Every part of the body can come down with cancer, cancer of the colon, cancer of the breast, cancer of the skin, cancer of the prostrate, skin cancer, stomach cancer, cancer of the lungs.
Is there a cure for cancer?
People have been working fervently to find a permanent cure/ solution to cancer. They say prevention is better than cure. Research has gone into the preventive aspect of cancer generally, if you can avoid those causative factors, you can prevent the disease: Tobacco in cancer of the lungs, eat healthy diets fruits, vegetables, maintain healthy weight, take alcohol in moderation or avoid entirely, avoid processed meat / seasoned meat, physical activities and exercises, vaccination and avoiding risky behaviours, don’t share needles with people, regular check up to pick diseases early, skin screening when you notice a change, in breast cancer breast cell examination to pick up lumps.