… Man Inaugurates Awareness Organization After Losing Wife To Cancer
By Chinelo Chikelu
Cancer Specialist, Dr. Chinedu S. Aruah revealed that with the exception of cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the second cause of death in families.
The Radiation and Clinical Oncologist quotes that over 8.8m people, globally, died of cancer in 2014, while about 24.6m live with cancer; and contrary to the scenario in developed countries, where there are lower deaths owing to preventive measures such as early detection and response, Nigeria witnesses higher mortality and morbidity rates owing to late detection, misdiagnosis and non-preventive measures.
Addressing participants at the inauguration ceremony of the Tai Aremu Cancer Awareness Campaign Organization (TACACO), held recently in Gwarimpa, Abuja, Dr. Aruah said Nigeria lacks state-of-the-art cancer diagnostic and treatment centers/facilities, and the economic statistics to execute cancer management measures to analyze the trues cost of cancer to Nigeria’s economy.
Although Nigerians are more susceptible to breast, cervical and prostate cancers, Aruah says there is low to zero awareness at the capital cities and grassroots.
TACACO, is a non-governmental organization established by Aremu Segun Kuti, who lost his wife Tai Aremu to breast cancer, last year owing to late detection diagnosed during her pregnancy. Despite chemotherapy treatment she witnessed a painful death following the lose of her hair and fingernails.
TACACO, Aremu says, is focused on creating awareness campaigns for cancer to encourage Nigerians to go for cancer screening to ensure early detection and prevention of cancerous growth in the body.
While government is unable to lead the campaign in the country, Aremu tasks it to support institutions like TACACO to attain a nationwide awareness campaign to prevent unnecessary deaths.
Laboratory Scientist and director of the Unique Analytical and Diagnostic Laboratory, located in Abuja and Osun state, Oluseyi D. Moemeke, charged the federal government to establish state-of-the-art regional cancer screening/diagnostic centers to increase preventive measures as well as reduce mortality and morbidity rates.
Reaffirming TACACO’s readiness to take the awareness campaign to the hinterlands in Nigeria, with its capable personnel, Moemeke maintained that the support of the government, philanthropists, as well as local and foreign agencies are required to make cancer screening accessible to a greater number of Nigerians.
At the inauguration, participants had free access to CA1-25 Carbohydrate Antigen Cancer Marker Test screening for breast cancer, and the HI-35 Prostate Cancer Screening for men. On an average day, such screening costs no less than N12,000 to N8,000 respectively.
While the dream to build a standard cancer screening center holds, Moemeke called on government, well-off Nigerians, agencies and organizations to support the organization in the provision of resources, and facilities to ensure testing is available for the masses at subsidized rates.
Meantime, clinical dietician, Yemisi Olowookere, advised Nigerians to up their dietary management practices via the adequate intake of vegetables and fruits, avoid excessive consumption of processed foods and embark on physical activities to reduce risk of cancer.
“No particular food causes cancer. People should pay more attention to their diet, avoid junk food and fizzy drinks, and consume more vegetables and fruits. Our (Nigerians) vegetable consumption level is very low. Nigerians should consume more, vegetables like broccoli, spinach containing anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory and potent nutrients that help ward off infections and cancer. The way we store, cook and preserve vegetables and fruits matter too. They should also learn to read the nutrition profile of processed foods to avoid consumption of maple, syrups, which are just rejigged name for sugar,” Olowookere concluded.
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