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Doctors warn of increasing cancer deaths, urge early screening

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Doctors from various health institutions in Delta and Edo states have warned of increasing deaths from breast, cervical and prostate cancers, urging Nigerians to go for early screening to check the ugly scenario.

Speaking during an awareness on the three types of cancers, organised by the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE) Health Centre, Drs. Afeyodion Akhator; Stanley Nnoli and Oghenevware Unuajohwofia, who delivered lectures on breast, cervical and prostate cancers, disclosed that an estimated 116,000 Nigerians had cancer with over 70,000 deaths in 2018.

Dr. Lawal Adenike, the acting director of the university’s health center, said the campaign had become imperative to alert Nigerians on the rising mortality rate from the scourge, stressing the need for preventive measures.

It was learnt that breast and cervical cancers were the commonest of the disease among women as well as prostate cancer the most common among men. The medical professionals disclosed that about 100,000 new cases of cancer occur every year in Nigeria with high deaths ratio, adding that the most populous black nation contributes 15 per cent to the estimated 681,000 new cases in Africa.

They noted that the high death figures were due to late detection of the disease by the victims, imploring women to start screening for breast cancer from 40 years.

Dr. Nnoli submitted that cervical cancer was the second leading cause of the mortality in Nigeria and was being caused by “persistent or chronic infection with one or more of the “high-risk” types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)”, a sexually acquired infection most often acquired in young adults who engage in early sexual intercourses.

He said cervical cancer could be prevented through vaccination, screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions as well as treatment of invasive cancer with palliative care.

In her contribution, Dr. Dorcas Obong, who spoke on cancer, prevention, management and nutrition, pointed out that 30 to 50 per cent of cancer deaths could be prevented by avoiding key risk factors, including shunning tobacco products, reducing alcohol consumption, maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly and addressing infection-related risk factors.

She said increase in incidence of cancer was attributable to population growth and increased life expectancy.

“A significant proportion of the increase in incidence of cancer in Nigeria is due to increasing life expectancy, reduced risk of death from infectious diseases, increasing prevalence of smoking, physical inactivity, obesity as well as changing dietary and lifestyle patterns,” she stated.


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