By Lilian Okoro
Lagos – To stem the cancer scourge, an Oncologist, Dr Victor Iyida, has called for massive education on healthy lifestyle and eating habits to avert being a cancer victim.
Iyida, who works with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.
He spoke in commemoration of the `World Cancer Day’ celebrated annually on Feb. 4.
The World Cancer Day is a global advocacy day dedicated to amplify the call for action and to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.
He said that massive awareness campaign remained the best approach to prevent the spread of cancer and tackling the existing cancer cases.
According to him, targeting the people who have not contracted cancer and teaching them on the way forward so as not to contract cancer would go a long way in curbing the menace of cancer in the society.
“It will be better if we educate people on the lifestyle, habits and harmful products which they are consuming every day leading to the degenerative diseases, so that they stop them.
“When greater percentage of the population are educated on the healthy lifestyle and eating habits that prevent diseases particularly cancer, the rate of cancer cases in Nigeria will drastically drop,” Iyida said.
Contributing, Dr Omogbohun Patrick, the Medical Director, MercyWay Medical Centre, a Lagos-based hospital, recommended healthy eating with reduction in the intake of carbohydrates, animal protein and sugar.
Patrick said that excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks, sugar and fatty foods aided growth of other degenerative diseases like diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure, which were risk factors of cancer.
He listed other risk factors of cancer to include renal diseases, obesity, malaria, hepatitis, Human papilloma virus infection and HIV/AIDS as well as habits like smoking and physical inactivity.
According to him, early presentation, diagnosis and intervention are key to effective treatment/management of cancer.
“There are about five stages in cancer management.
“If a case is diagnosed early at the first or second stage, its curative is 100 per cent sure even in this part of the world but if presented late at the fourth or fifth stage, the possibility of curing it is low even in advanced countries where there are adequate facilities.
“It is, therefore, advisable that people imbibe the culture of routine screening and self-examination of the breast; mostly women to detect when there is cancer growth for early intervention,” Patrick said.
He urged government at all levels to intensify more efforts in equipping government hospitals with adequate facilities and personnel for effective treatment of cancer cases within the country.