By Abujah Racheal
The wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has called on Nigerians to take action against the ravaging cancer disease across the world.
Buhari made the call in Abuja, at the annual five-kilometre “Walk Away Cancer” organised by Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that globally, cancer is a major leading health ailment with an estimated 10 million incidences and six million deaths annually.
In Nigeria, an estimated 72,000 cancer deaths occur annually, and 102,000 new cases are diagnosed from its population of about 200 million people.
The wife of the president urged Nigerians on the need for regular check-ups and early detection of cancer to save lives.
“Cancer screening is for people without symptoms, so if you have noticed a change, do not wait for screening. Tell your doctor as soon as possible,” she advised.
The Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu, said that over the years, Medicaid Cancer Foundation had championed cancer awareness across the country.
He said the awareness had resulted in the establishment of sophisticated centres for cancer treatment as well as discounted screening and diagnosis.
The governor acknowledged cancer as a complicated disease with expensive cost for treatment
He said his wife and founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation had advocated the inclusion of cancer treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
“All of these were progress made through the high level advocacy to help the common man that cannot afford to pay out of pocket for cancer treatment,” he said.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire sensitised Nigerians to the dangers associated with the disease and the need for early discovery.
Ehanire, represented by Dr, Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director and Head of Department of Hospital Services in the ministry said early diagnosis would improve cancer treatment outcome.
Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation, who led the five- kilometre walk said the activities of the foundation established years ago, was to increase cancer awareness and promote better chance of survival from the disease.
The Kebbi state Governor’s wife said the foundation was reaching out to the low and poor people, especially in rural communities, creating cancer awareness.
The foundation, according to her, also helps to disabuse the minds of people about cultural and traditional beliefs that cancer is caused by witchcraft.
“ Early screening of cancer will help to effectively detect and treat it.
“We can reduce the burden of cancer by half through increased awareness and achieve the global target to reduce cancer by 25 per cent by the year 2025,” she said.
She urged Nigerians to stay vigilant about the disease, which could be treated easily if detected early.
Dr Hassan Abubakar a urologist, who spoke to NAN on the sidelines of the walk, sensitised the public to the three main risk factors of prostate cancer.
“Getting older, having a family history of the disease and ethnicity all play a part in increasing the risk of getting it,” he said
Abubakar said that prostate cancer was the second most common cancer in men worldwide, while testicular cancer was the most common malignancy among men aged 20 to 40.
“Too many men are unaware of the health risks they face and the actions they should be taking to ensure they have the best quality of life.
“Patients should consider having a check-up earlier if they experience symptoms, such as inability to urinate and pain or blood while urinating,” he advised.
According to him, screening includes a clinical examination, a prostate-specific antigen blood test, and a sonogram.
NAN recalls that the event was characterised by a mixture of fanfare and physical exercise.
Participants who turned out in large number walked round some streets of the FCT chanting songs, enlightening the residents about the scourge of cancer.
Among notable participants at the event were Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen, celebrities and dignitaries. (NAN)