…as Catholic Church embarks on free screening for parishioners, community

By Cynthia Alo

As Nigeria battles rising cases of cancer, medical experts have called on Nigerians to live a lifestyle that will promote healthy living.

The medical experts who spoke at St.Mary Isolo Catholic Church 2022 Health Week, notes that fruits containing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory are the best to be used in the fight against cancer.

The 2-day programme which was a focus on cancer had dietitians and other medical personnels who engaged the people on non pharmaceutical approach to cancer treatment.

They noted that early detection is very key in preventing the cancer surge in the country.

According to Dietician and Consultant, Deborah Ayodeji, as a registered dietician, I constantly push for a healthy living especially to prevent health conditions and to also prevent it at the onset of chronic diseases.

“Today’s exercise is focused on the impact of lifestyle changes in cancer management, cancer treatment and preventing cancer. Good nutrition is beneficial, healthy eating is beneficial, lifestyle changes are beneficial in order to prevent cancer. When we talk about healthy eating, we are talking about diets rich in pomegranates; fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and protein.”

“So, a healthy balance is encouraged as much as possible and taking cancer fighting fruits and vegetables such as fruits that contain antioxidants and anti – inflammatory, and multivitamins. Having a healthy balance of these fruits can promote healthy living.”

According to Dr. Uchechukwu Shagaya, an Oncologist from the National Hospital Abuja, early detection of cancer will reduce the surge in Nigeria. 

She noted that with the sensitisation, many people will be able to differentiate between facts and myths of cancer. 

She said: “We started the screening exercise by educating the participants on the benefit of early detection of cancer and what the church can do to further curtail the surge.

And then proceeded to the regular screening where we checked  their prostate specific antigen (PSAtest  for prostate cancer and also mammogram for early signs of breast cancer.”

Addressing the beneficiaries, she said: “The beneficiaries should know that lifestyle choices can make or mar their health.

Project Coordinator of the Parish, Mrs.Oge Okorie, said that  the primary aim of the outreach is to reach out to the indigent people who might not afford the test considering the harsh economy. 

“I want to appreciate our parish priest , Reverend Father Philip Egbuniwe, who believes that we can do this. We are running the tests for free and in conjunction with mother Mary’s hospital , which is our parish Health Center. The services you are getting are something that you could have spent much on

“I appreciate the  nurses  who are from the Catholic guild of Nurses.It was a volunteer service,” she added. 

According to her, the sensitization will increase the knowledge of people on cancer and further remove the fear that comes when cancer is mentioned. “The primary message is to understand that knowledge is power . Most times people avoid going for checkups for fear but the truth is that if Early detection is key.”

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