The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Lagos branch, says maintaining a healthy lifestyle and early diagnosis will go a long way to prevent cancer and other illnesses.
The association said this in Lagos during its medical outreach, as part of activities marking the World Cancer Day.
The event featured seminars on lifestyle and healthy living by Dr. Omolola Odigwe; breast cancer by Dr. Kehinde Adeniran; cervical cancer by Mrs. Yetunde Jacobson-Folaji; and prostate cancer by Dr. Damilola Akinlawon.
There were also free medical checks like blood pressure, urinalysis, screening for prostate, breast and cervical cancer, blood sugar, eyes test with free reading glasses.
In her presentation, Odigwe stressed the importance of eating healthy and balanced meals; regular exercise and to shun smoking and consumption of alcohol. She also called for periodic health assessment.
Adeniran said factors like family history, lifestyle and excessive alcohol intake can cause breast cancer.
She advised women to always check their breasts four days after their monthly period and to report any changes to the doctor for early intervention.
Jacobson-Folaji on her part said 500,000 women die every year and every minute a woman dies of cervical cancer, adding that eating unhealthy meals, multiple sexual partners and hormonal drugs can expose one to the ailment.
The certified fertility care practitioner listed some of the symptoms to include intermittent bleeding, virginal discharge, low abdominal pain. She urged women to screen for cervical cancer at least every five years for early detection, and vaccination for females from nine to 45 years for prevention.
Akinlawon also stressed the importance of healthy diet and exercise to the prevention of prostate cancer. He said the older men get, the more likely to have prostate cancer. So from 40 years, men should start periodic screening.
In her remarks, the Chairperson of YWCA Lagos branch, Mrs. Olukemi Oludipe, said the association always focusses on cancer and other health talks during its health awareness week it knows that early detection of cancer is key and people cannot detect it early if they don’t know about it.
She said the programme has been on for the past six years and it is usually done in the market to reach the semi-literates and the illiterates.
She said this year’s programme was adjusted to include members of the association, as well as the semi-literate and the illiterates.
Oludipe state that YWCA generally is about advocacy for the girl child and the women. “We care about their well-being, the domestic, social, mental and financial well-being. Apart from our health programme, we also organise economic programme, social programmes where we teach young people how to have confidence in themselves.”
The Lagos Central Group President of the association, Dr.Olatokunbo Oseni said when the programme started, it was just the basics, but over the years the screening has been expanded to include cholesterol checks, kidney checks that would be done in the laboratory because there are partners that are supporting the association.
She said the results of the screening were reviewed by medical doctors on ground who recommended further tests when necessary.
She added that the association would support those who require follow-up tests, “we have collected the samples and we have sent some people for further tests at partner diagnosis centres. The results come back to me and I am able to follow up with those patients.”
She added that I there is need to send the person to a consultant, the association will look for an affordable place where its network of friends also support. “We have a follow up procedure where the patient is never left alone,” Oseni said.
She advised Nigerian to embrace healthy diet and lifestyle to keep most illnesses and diseases away. “Let food be our medicine and not medicine be our food,” she stressed.