Image from ‘National Cancer Institute’
A Public Health Physician, Dr Chioma Nwakanma has attributed the general belief and saying ‘it is not my portion’ to leading cause of cancer death in Africa.
Nwakanma, who is also the Executive Director of Smile With Me Foundation (SWMF), spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Saturday.
She said that many people refused to go for screening and imbibe healthy behaviours because they believed they could not have cancer.
According to her, cancer screening and early detection makes it easier to treat cancer and it reduces the chances of dying from cancer.
Nwakanma said the most common types of cancer were breast, cervical, prostate, colon, rectal, lung, liver, pancreatic and brain cancers.
“The Nigeria National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan (2018-2022), states that cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year with an estimated 102,000 new cases of cancer annually.
“No one wants to hear the word cancer, as it is one of the most dreaded words in the English language.
“The reality is that children can have cancer. men and women can have cancer. The rich and the poor can have cancer. The religious and non-religious can have cancer, Blacks can have cancer and Whites can too.
“Cancer is killing more people worldwide than HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis and Malaria put together but most people will keep saying ‘It’s not my portion’.
“They will refuse to go for screening for early detection and treatment. By the time symptoms starts to appear cancer may have spread and by the time they come to the hospital, it will be too late to treat,’’ she said.
Nwakanma said cancer prevention and early detection was key to reducing the high rate of cancer deaths.
“Wearing sunscreen can save you from skin cancer, drinking plenty of water can protect your kidneys, not smoking can save you from lung and cervical cancer and limiting or stopping alcohol reduces risk of liver cancer.
“It is really the little things that keep us safe,’’ Nwakanma said.