Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen has said that one -third of cancer deaths can be avoided through education and addressing the known modified risk factors.
Tallen said this during a World Cancer Day sensitisation walk organised by Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora (OCI) Foundation, BFA Food and Health Limited and Beauty For Ashes in Abuja on Tuesday.
The theme of this year’s day is “I am and I will’. The theme acknowledges that we all have the capacity to address the cancer burden, reduce the risk factors and over barriers to early diagnosis including treatment and palliative care.
Tallen, who was represented by the Deputy Director of Child Development Department from the Ministry, Mr Ali Madugu, said one of the major challenges facing the achievement of a healthy nation was the scourge of cancer.
“While cancer continues to tax the capacities of nations, communities and households, the most vulnerable of these groups is no doubt the women.
“Women are acknowledged as primary provider of healthcare for their families, their communities and societies and are likely to continue taking care of day and household needs even when they are sick.
“Yet many women are at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing information about cancer prevention, access to treatment and rehabilitation,” she said.
Tallen said breast cancer was one of the most prevalent cancers in women, saying it is the second leading cause of death in women.
She said physical inactivity had been linked with increased risk of cancer of the breast, colon, prostrate and pancreas.
The minister said there was need to raise public awareness on issues bothering on cancer prevention, detection and treatment to reduce high death rate.
She said the Ministry was committed to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to promote welfare and rights of vulnerable groups to access preventive and quality health care services.
A member of the Advocacy Team of the OCI Foundation, Mrs Felicia Dagu called for adoption of cancer education into the curriculum of Senior Secondary Schools in the country.
She said proper education of the young ones in the country, would go long to impact many in the society, saying many were still ignorant of the disease.
“Overall, thousands of Nigerians die from these cancers every year. In 2018, for instance, a total of 115,950 new cancer cases were recorded in Nigeria, and 70,327 of those affected, died.
“Those affected include our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, aunties, uncles, friends, colleagues, and employees,” she said.
Dagu however, urged Nigerians to be aware of cancers noting that prevention and early detection remained the most effective strategies.
“Together, we can win this fight. With the right information, we have a chance at emerging victorious in this fight,” she said.
The Coordinator of BFA Food and Health Limited, Jackie Ikeotuonye said cancer was treatable and not a death sentence.
“People with cancer should not be stigmatised, the challenge is coming out and another is getting access to the right information.
“Many of these cancer patients are bombarded with many wrong information and causing untimely death,” she said.
Ikeotuonye called on Federal Government to address the conventional treatment plan for cancer patients.
She said cancer is not spiritual attack as some claim, adding that there was need to sensitise the rural populace on the dangers.
One of the survivor of breast cancer, Gloria Onumegbu advised Nigerians not to be ignorant but rather consult their doctor if they notice anything unusual.
She said cancer could happen to anybody, saying she noticed a sharp pain on her right arm and later discharge of blood from her breast.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Cancer Day is an international day marked on Feb. 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.