A group of oncologists and fitness experts have warned that uncircumcised male adults are highest carriers of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) responsible for the spread of cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer type among women worldwide.
The experts said this at the Lakeshore Cancer Centre annual Sensitisation Walk against Cervical Cancer, Aerobics Session, held in Victoria Island, Lagos recently.
The Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist, Dr. Mutiu Jimoh Alami, who described HPV as the most common sexually transmitted disease, said uncircumcised males especially, harbour the virus.
He said: “Men who are not circumcised have the foreskin that can harbour the HPV virus. During sexual intercourse, it can get into the woman.”
The oncologist listed other risk factors as multiple sexual partners, sexually transmitted infections, early sexual intercourse before puberty, multiple pregnancies, and low social economic status.
Alami further recommended that while unmarried people should do abstinence, the married ones should be sincere with one’s partner, adding that once there is no infection of HPV, there won’t be cervical cancer.
Noting that early detection is key, the doctor listed some symptoms including: Inter-menstrual bleeding, postcoital bleeding, foul smell discharge, lower abdominal pain, and pelvic pain.
He said: “Once you are between ages nine and 26 years, go for regular screening through the use of pap smear. People who are not sexually active between nine to 26 years can have the vaccine. Those who are sexually active can do the test. It is three dozes. It’s highly preventable unlike for breast cancer,” he recommended.
With exercise as part of protective mechanisms, Alami added that exercise was good for the body against cancer, diabetes, and hypertension.
“Inactivity is a risk factor not only to cancer but also to non-communicable diseases like hypertension. That is why we advise people to do exercise, which is key in preventive measures toagainst cancer”.
According to a Fitness Coach, Mr. Peter Eze, all one needs is about 20 minutes of exercise daily.
“When I talk to some people, they say they don’t have time to go to the gym. One thing that would make life good for you is this gym house because they keep you fit and it is related to basics lifestyle.
“You can also lose weight in your house and you can get fit in your room. You don’t have to go to the gym. By that way, we are bringing the gym to you,” he ended.
Having led participants through basic but rigorous aerobics from 8am to 9am, Eze suggested that beginners could start off with walk and then stretch.
Speaking also, a Family Physician and Head of Strategy, Outreach and Development, Lakeshore Cancer Centre, Dr. Oge Ilegbune, noted that cervical cancer could be transmitted through sex and orally.
For other preventive measures, the expert warned that it was safer to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Avoid smoking, go for screening every three years for all those who have been sexually active at any point in their lives,” she added.