Cancer: “It’s Not My Portion”, leading cause of deaths in Africa, says expert

Cancer: “It’s Not My Portion”, leading cause of deaths in Africa, says expert

A Public Health physician, Dr Chioma Nwakanma has attributed the general belief and saying ‘it is not my portion’; as the leading cause of cancer deaths in Africa.

Nwakanma, who is also the Executive Director of Smile With Me Foundation (SWMF); disclosed this in an interview 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; simply because they believed they could not have it. According to her, screening and early detection makes it easier to treat the disease. Also, she disclosed that it reduces the chances of dying.

Specifically, Nwakanma revealed the most common types as breast, cervical, prostate, colon, rectal, lung, liver, pancreatic and brain cancers.

“The Nigeria National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan (2018-2022), states that (it) is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year; with an estimated 102,000 new cases…annually. No one wants to hear the word…it is one of the most dreaded words in the English language.

Cancer

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“The reality is that children can have cancer. men and women (too). The rich and the poor can have cancer. Also, the religious and non-religious. Blacks can have 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, it may have spread; and by the time they come to the hospital, it will be too late to treat,’’ she said.

Nwakanma held that prevention and early detection was key to reducing the high rate of deaths.

“Wearing sunscreen can save you from skin cancer; drinking plenty of water can protect your kidneys; non-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.

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