By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- AS Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark World Cancer Day on February 4, 2019, with theme: I am and I will, women under the auspices of Voice for Less Privileged Organisation, VOLPO, across the country have called on government at all levels to take proactive action and pay attention to end cancer menace ravaging mostly the women population.
This call was made by the Founder, VOLPO, Dr Ego-Queen Ezuma, who said the cancer menace has assumed a dangerous dimension, which has become a threat to women’s health, especially younger women who are dying daily and leaving their families in jeopardy.
According to Ezuma, the passion of VOLPO has made the organisation to embark on many advocacies and sensitisations about the deadly disease across the country to create awareness.
She further lamented that most cancer cases in the country would have been nipped in the bud if there was aggressive campaign by government, non-governmental organisations, religious and traditional bodies. She, therefore, called for synergies, engagements, town-hall meetings, public enlightenment and other ways of communication in the language the people would understand the causes, risks, treatment, management and most importantly, prevention through awareness creation.
February 4th is observed as World Cancer Day, every year. The day is dedicated to everyone across the globe fighting cancer, the statistics of which is absolutely alarming. Over 9.5 million people are known to have cancer at a severe stage in the year 2018.
The most common types of cancer in men are lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer while breast, colorectal, lung, cervix and stomach cancer are the most common among women.
According to reports, in Nigeria, cancer leads to over 80,000 deaths per annum. This number is set to increase given that there are over 102,000 new cases of cancer every year. Available data also shows that cervical cancer kills one Nigerian woman every hour, breast cancer kills 40 Nigerian women on daily basis while prostate cancer kills 26 Nigerian men daily. The report also indicates that the highlighted three common cancers daily kill 90 Nigerians.
She said: “It is very worrisome to see cancer cutting short the lives of most people in Nigeria, particularly women. The death rate is threatening and alarming, and most families are put in serious jeopardy, especially young children left behind by their late mothers who are mostly bread-winners and pillars to the families.
“We in Voice for Less Privileged Organisation, VOLPO, have taken it upon ourselves to carry out enlightenment and other advocacies to create awareness of the disease. We have been doing this at the grassroots to make them aware of hygiene, diet, check-up, dangers of self-medication, unhealthy habits of drinking mixtures including alcohol and others.
“The 2019 World Cancer Day with theme: I am and I will, should be a wake-up call to all Nigerians to realise that cancer is real and ravaging the population on daily basis, and also its time for action by government at all levels and non-governmental organisations to sit up and roll up sleeves to proactively tackle the menace of caner that has eaten deep into the health of Nigerians, particularly women.”
Being optimistic about the reduction in number of deaths and having cancer awareness develop in Nigeria, the VOLPO boss said deliberate efforts should be made in fighting the disease.
“Our hospitals should be equipped with cancer-treating state-of-the-art equipment, cancer treatments cost should be subsidised by the government, more professionals employed to mount the facilities, more cancer-treating facilities should be built across the local government areas of the country, more support given to non-governmental organisations to penetrate the grassroots with cancer awareness programmes, cancer detection surveys should be stepped up to know those living with it, and other preventive measures put in place”, she stated.
Meanwhile, she commended non-governmental organisations like Pink Oak Trust, which is a cancer foundation whose mission is to raise as much money as possible, to pay for the treatment of as many cancer patients in Nigeria as possible.
She called on well meaning Nigerians to support cancer patients with their resources to give them life and hope so they can regain their health and become productive again.