By SundiataPOST, Abuja
Dr Muheez Durosinmi, the Chairman, Faculty of Pathology, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN), on Saturday, said the risk of some chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD) increase at the age of 40.
He made the disclosure in Lagos at the 17th All Fellows Meeting of the Faculty of Pathology, NPMCN, with theme: “Challenges Confronting Research in Cancer Diagnosis in Nigeria”.
According to him, the common NCDs are cancer, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes mellitus and heart diseases.
The professor of haematology said “life they say begins at 40, unfortunately, we are not often reminded that the risks of some non-communicable diseases also start increasing at age 40, as part of the aging process.
“The major non-communicable diseases are cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes mellitus and heart diseases, including stroke.
“All of the four share common aetiological factors, including physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and smoking.
“Other chronic diseases worth mentioning are mental disorders, visual impairment and blindness, hearing impairment and deafness, arthritis, oral diseases and genetic disorders.’’
Durosinmi stressed the need for strict healthy lifetyles early in life to prevent some of these diseases.
He said “it is advisable that people start early in life to live healthy and go for regular medical check-up.
“People should eat well, avoid sedentary lifestyle, exercise frequently, avoid smoking, excessive drinking of alcohol and use of artificial things.’’
Dr Yetunde Aken’ova, a Proffesor of Haematology at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, said more than 100,000 Nigerians were diagnosed with cancer yearly.
She said “in Nigeria, 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer annually and 80,000 of them die due to late detection of the disease and the lack of access to sound medical treatment.
“The key areas of challenges in cancer research are in hispathology, medical-microbiology and clinical chemistry.
“In these areas, the challenges include inadequate funding for training and routine diagnostic facilities, inadequate diagnostic tools and support for update training for specialists in diagnostic pathology.’’
She added that there was also the absence of screening programmes for most of the cancers, vaccines, presentation of cases at terminal stage.
“Others are human factors such as training and exposure, as well as the lack of tumour monitoring techniques.’’
Aken’ova advised that the way out of the challenges in cancer research and management should be broad-based, including behavioural, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.
“And this requires a well integrated multidisciplinary approach that involves health professionals, paramedics and non-medical workers.
“It will also require that tertiary hospitals be well-staffed and equipped with cutting edge equipment and appropriate arrangements made for maintenance and eventual replacement.’’
Dr Mohammed Shehu, the Secretary, Faculty of Pathology Department, NPMCN, urged pathologists to rise up to their responsibilities as they were key to diagnosis of diseases.
“As pathologist, we are aware of the rising number of cancer cases in the country and the peculiarities of the disease in terms of biology, diagnosis and treatment in our environment.
“Pathologists need to be competent and must make accurate diagnosis.
“We have to be professional and efficient, especially as best practices in medicine are impossible in the absence of competent pathologists in all fields.’’