Oncologist implores FG to set up more cancer testing, treatment centres

A Chief Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist at the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Festus Igbinoba, has called on the Federal Government to urgently set up more cancer centres across the country to help the growing number of Nigerians who are currently suffering from the disease.

He advised Nigerians to live a healthy lifestyle and stay away from cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake-habits that constitute health hazards. Speaking at the sensitization programme to mark the 2017 World Cancer Day yesterday in Abuja, Igbinoba who noted that cancer is not a death sentence, observed that over 40 per cent cases of cancer are preventable if people do the right thing.

He said: “We can conquer cancer and ensure that the scourge is reduced nationwide. Individuals should know the signs and symptoms of cancer and above all go for screening in order to detect the disease early. If the disease is caught early, it can be cured. If you can stay away from cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol intake, you can prevent cancer. There are lifestyles to pre-disposes people to cancer but you can keep cancer away by living a healthy lifestyle.”

Igbinoba who doubles as President of the National Association of Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologists (NACRCO), observed that Cervical cancer is now regarded as a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) because Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) has been identified as its causative agent.

He, therefore, stressed the need for government to procure more radiotherapy machines, insisting that whoever takes it upon himself to buy a radiotherapy machines for any centre should also negotiate the maintenance contract along with it, otherwise when they break down, it is usually difficult to repair them on time.

Also speaking, Head, Department of Oncology at the National Hospital, Dr. Adisa Oyesegun noted that cancer alone kills more than HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria put together, adding that cancer could result from genetics, obesity, dietary fat intake and hormonal factors, stressing that tobacco accounts for one million of cancer related deaths annually.

He said, “We now see cancer in young age group, there are things we are doing wrong. Prostate cancer is supposed to be the disease of the elderly but here in Africa, we see prostate cancer in people of 40-years old bracket and this is because we eat junk and processed food. Breast cancer is not easy to manage. Causes of cancer include excessive or regular smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, but it could be treated if diagnosed early.”

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