Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association, Kwara State branch, Dr. Kunle Olawepo, has disclosed that Nigeria loses over 150,000 citizens to cancer yearly.
Speaking at a walk organised in llorin, the state capital, to commemorate the World Cancer Day, Olawepo, who defined cancer as a group of diseases that can affect any tissue or organ in the body, stated that, globally, cancer was the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease.
According to him, the real causes of cancers include: abnormal genes developing in any organ in the body; exposure to irradiation; some chemicals or drugs; smoking and some viral infections.
Olawepo said, “The burden of cancer, it’s treatment and the economic implication of the disease or loss of a cancer patient, as well as its overall cascading effect on the larger society, is unquantifiable and alarming.
“Cancer is no respecter of age, sex or race, occurring in children and adults alike; male or female and in any organ of the body. The fight against cancer is global and millions of people survive the menace due to early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and the current individualised approach to cancer management.
“Cancers usually turn out to be death sentences in our environment because of delayed/late presentation.”
He stated that maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the risk factors responsible for majority of these cancers can help to reduce the global burden of the disease.
According to him, people should have adequate physical activity, avoid a sedentary way of life; have at least 30 minutes’ walk every day; avoid smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and obesity, as well as play safe by being faithful to one partner.
“When we started cancer awareness, many people were totally ignorant of what cancer is. But knowledge has improved now.
“The cancer death rate is quite alarming and we must keep talking about it till everybody knows how it can be prevented”, he said