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Towards reducing the scourge of cancer among Nigerian women

By Efe Ebelo,  Snr. Correspondent, Abuja 

As part of activities marking the World Cancer Day, about 500 market women have received free cancer screening and treatment from Kings Benefits Foundation, KBF and Optimal Cancercare Foundation programme in Abuja.

The exercise which took place at Wuse market was aimed at reducing the scourge of cancer menace in Nigeria. It was open to every woman interested in knowing her cancer status and also expected to record another 500 women screened of cancer in Gariki market today.

Director of KBF, Mrs. Joy Ogiemwonyi said the idea was to meet with the needs of the common Nigerian women in the society, adding that the foundation was poised at reducing the increasing rate of cancer scourge in Nigeria.

‘‘This is our own little way of contributing to the ongoing effort of government to stamp out cancerous diseases in Nigeria. This might not reach everybody, but we are glad that over 1,000 lives are going to be touched at the end of this exercise as they are not only going to be screened but those found to be positive are going to be treated free of charge.’’

‘‘The joy we derive is that we are able to affect lives positively in many positive ways. It is not about gaining but impacting lives as we have realised that many beneficiaries are having their first experience. If everybody could do the little beat like we are doing, I think the issue of cancer will be a thing of the past,’’ she said.

Ogiemwonyi advised Nigerian women to always take advantage of opportunities as provided by the foundation to advance their health status and increase the chances of their living, adding that it is only by regular screening that the disease could be detected early and the spread prevented.

Also speaking, the Medical Director of Optimal HealthCare limited, Dr. Femi Olaleye said the exercise was not only to offer free cancer services to Nigerian women but was equally targeted at creating awareness on the danger of cancer and to encourage women from taking every advantage to prevent cancer from taking hold in their body.

He said that the decision to organise the exercise was also informed by the realisation that government alone cannot prevent cancer and so required the private sector to complement the ongoing efforts by the federal government.

On the statistics of the disease in Nigeria, Olaleye remarked that one out of every woman was likely to have cancer in their life time but warned women not to toy with their lives by not conducting regular checks on their breasts and cervix.

According to him, researchers are yet to arrive at the main cause of cancer but attributed cervical cancer to a virus called Human Papilla-viral Virus, HPV and can be prevented through vaccination. On the symptoms, he said cervical cancer does not usually have symptoms but can have certain symptoms like bloody discharge, pain during intercourse.