By Ibukun Emiola
Ibadan – A medical expert, Dr Gbemi Daramola, has urged Nigerians to embrace early detection through regular screening to reduce the number of deaths caused by cancer in Nigeria.
Daramola made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Tuesday, as part of awareness creation on the 2020 World Cancer Day.
While describing cancer as “a demon that is destroying many lives all over the world, particularly Africa”, he said “we are creating awareness and letting people know that early detection is what will save lives.
“It was reported that every minute, 17 people are dying of cancer and most common cancers in our environment are breast cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer, for men.
“There are places like hospitals where you can go to detect cancer early before it spreads. I am sure we all know one or two people who have died of cancer.
“Cancer is the abnormal bizarre growth of cells, which can occur in any part of the body.
“On breast cancer, every woman should examine her breasts regularly; a good time is after the monthly period. You look for any swelling as small as a bean seed.
“The swelling is called a lump and every lump must be removed and sent for histology, but not every lump is cancer,” she said.
Daramola also further stated that cervical cancer has to do with the cervix, which is the mouth of the womb.
“Every woman, who is not a virgin, should have a pap smear done, so that if traces of a cancer is seen from the result, depending on how early the test was done, it can be stopped with timely intervention,” she said.
The expert advised that girls and young women between ages nine and 25 should take three doses of the vaccine against cervical cancer called ‘Cervarix’ to prevent the disease type caused by the HP virus.
According to her, prostate cancer requires that every man above 40 years should go for a ‘Prostate Antigen Assay’ (PSA) yearly.
“If it is raised, please see a doctor, an urologist or a surgeon immediately; the surgery usually recommended will not affect performance as a man,” she said.
On lung cancer, Daramola advised people to quit smoking, saying that tobacco had been linked to so many types of cancer apart from lung cancer.
“To prevent cancer of the liver, go for Hepatitis B screening. If negative, get vaccination, that is, three doses over six months,” she said.
The medical expert also advised against alcohol consumption, urging people to either stop drinking alcohol or reduce it to the barest minimum.