It is the story of a personal commitment required from each person in every community to create a cancer-free generation; and work to make it a global health priority.
About 26,000 people die from cancer each day worldwide. In Nigeria, cancer deaths are still under-reported; but accordingly to World Health Organization, about 69,000 people die yearly from cancers in Nigeria.
Here are things we can do for a cancer-free generation.
- Advocate vigorously: Advocate for policies and laws by the government such as environmental protection. The provision of more resources to fund cancer prevention and treatment. The government to pass effective anti-tobacco laws; and install the sugary drinks tax. Labour laws that protect cancer victims from loss of income; for health insurance that gives qualitative coverage for cancer treatment, among others.
4% of cancers worldwide linked to excessive body weight. In a world where obesity is on the rise due to unhealthy eating; we all can get involved in the fight against cancer by making healthy eating a lifestyle in our families, communities and at work.
- Embrace a tobacco-free lifestyle: About 26% of all cancers worldwide linked to tobacco use. Help install no-smoking policies in your community and workplace, and in schools.
- Move! Regular and sufficient physical activity protects against cancer; and even helps cancer victims get better faster. Exercise regularly and get your community, colleagues, family and schools to do the same.
- Learn: Get education on the signs and symptoms of cancer and how to detect them early. Educate yourself and others. Steadfastly help dispel myths and stigma about cancers. If you have had cancer, share your story. Stories reach further and do more to engender empathy and awareness.
- Regular screening. Women aged 35 years and above screened regularly for breast and cervical cancer. Men 50 years and above screened yearly for prostate cancer. Take advantage of free and/or subsidized rates. If you have health insurance, most packages come with free yearly screening. Gift your parents and aged relatives with free screening appointments yearly.
- Support cancer patients and survivors who undergo the physical, financial and emotional impacts of cancer; and continue even after they have completed therapy. Help them get back to work as much as possible, visit people with cancer and help them pay their hospital bills. Especially because many do not have health insurance in Nigeria and so pay out of pocket
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