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April 23, 2024
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Cancer Day: NAOWA advocates increased awareness in Nigeria

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

The President, Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA), Mrs Maria Lagbaja, has called on the government and stakeholders to increase awareness on the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer diseases.

Lagbaja made the call at the NAOWA Cancer Awareness Summit, in commemoration of the Year 2024 World Cancer Day, on Monday in Abuja.

She said the awareness would help to reduce illness and death caused by cancer, adding that it would provide opportunity to end unnecessary suffering from the disease.

According to her, this call to action is a testament to the devastating global effect of cancer, and the need to bridge the gap in cancer management, in order to prevent further deaths and disabilities.

“Therefore, as we commemorate this very important global event today, our purpose is to raise awareness, advocate for quality healthcare access, and celebrate the major successes made in combating this disease.

“The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day which is “Close the Care Gap” is very apt, and highlights major gaps concerning the care for Cancer patients around the globe.

“As we are all aware, some of these gaps include limited access to quality healthcare facilities, financial restrictions faced by patients, and the limited awareness regarding the disease.

“Without any doubt, the lack of awareness most especially, has serious consequences, as it prevents many people from seeking early diagnosis and prompt treatment,” she said.

Lagbaja said the summit was organised as part of NAOWA’s corporate social responsibility, to raise awareness, and contribute to the efforts of other international and local organisations.

The efforts, according to her, are aimed at ensuring that everyone, regardless of background and financial status, is equipped with the necessary knowledge on early diagnosis of Cancer, and also the relevant forums to seek for proper guidance and prompt medical attention.

“As we commemorate this event, let us remember that our collective efforts have the power to make a difference.

“By spreading awareness, advocating for regular screenings, and supporting those affected by cancer, we can contribute to a future where this disease no longer claims lives,” she added.

Chief of Administration (Army), Maj.-Gen. Jimmy Akpor, said the event had raised awareness and ignited hope for a cancer free nation, adding that Nigeria remained a major contributor to the overall cancer burden on the African continent.

Akpor said that the burden of cancer in Nigeria, and by extension among Nigerian army personnel and families was huge.

He commended the medical experts for educating and reassuring the people that cancers were preventable, detectable, controllable and curable, adding that the awareness would help to close the gap.

“It is interesting to note that screening services are already available at the Nigerian army medical centers and hospitals across the country to enable personnel and their families have access to cervical and breast cancer screening as well as prostate specific tests.

“Therefore, I encourage everyone here to be to undertake regular cancer screening and we must ensure the theme of this year’s campaign achieves the desired impact by taking the campaign to our women in the barracks on the need to have regular preventive screening.

“We will continue to support personnel and their families as in the previous years, to treat those with different cancers and to also promote positive behaviours and at preventing and controlling cancers.

“Thus, our hospitals are now equipped to adequately diagnose the terminus cancers in our barracks,” he said.

Dr Niyi Shagaya, a Consultant Oncologist and member of NAOWA Health Committee, said that cancer could be prevented through early detection and healthy lifestyle.

Shagaya said that the disease itself was not a death sentence if adequately managed, adding that a lot of people died as a result of ignorance and fear.

She advised that maintaining a healthy weight and include physical activity as daily routine, reduction of tobacco consumption and other avoiding risky behaviours could help in preventing cancer.

She said that it was estimated that by 2020, 16 million new case of cancer would be diagnosed per annum, 70 per cent of which would be in developing countries. (NAN) (www.annews.ng)

Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

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