Experts Proffer Preventive Options to Tame Growing Rate of Cancer

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Rebecca Ejifoma

Medical experts, including a leading Cancer Epidemiologist and Surgical Oncologist, Professor Chukwumere Nwogu, have called for the adoption of preventive measures to address growing cases and mortality resulting from cancer in Nigeria.

The medical experts made the call at the 2019 annual oncology conference at the Lagos-based Lakeshore Cancer Centre in Victoria Island Lagos recently, on the theme, “Improving Cancer Outcomes in Nigeria.”

For the experts, early detention, lifestyle changes, and concerted efforts of government and private players could reduce the spread of the disease even further.

Though the experts noted that available cancer statistic for Nigeria was under-estimated since the registration in Nigeria was markedly incomplete, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) research in 2018 showed that about 115,950 new cancer cases, 70,327 cancer deaths and 211,052 prevalent cases (five-year) were recorded in the period under review.

Nwogu said: “18 million cases are recorded annually with about one million deaths. Cancer is a great problem all over the world. Hence, we need a lot of work on it. There is need to pay more attention to some practices including varieties of meals with pertinent attention to vegetable which should be part of our food. We should start inculcating that at home and at restaurants.

“How can one person alone consume a full bottle of wine? I’m not saying you should not drink. However, moderation is key when consuming alcohol. The more the intake of alcohol, the higher the risk,” the oncologist said.

Nwogu, who doubles as the CEO, Lakeshore Cancer Centre, further listed modifiable risk factors to include obesity, exercise, alcohol, breastfeeding and hormone replacement therapy.

Nwogu also made case for training and education, adding that connectivity remained crucial as well as access to care.

Meanwhile, the experts decried the high cases of breast cancer, adding that Nigerians should take alcohol in moderation, while mothers should provide adequate breastfeeding and consumption of vegetables as part of daily meals.

In a joint research on Oncology Emergencies, a Consultant Medical Oncologist, Dr Okezie Ofor and Consultant Medical Oncologist, Nottingham University Hospitals, Dr ‘Azeez Salawu said it was important to have adequate support systems in place for patients on systemic anticancer treatments.

They noted, however, that many oncology emergencies were reversible or at least, have reversible symptoms. They also stressed that early recognition remained critical in addressing the scourge.