Nigerians have been advised on what they need to do to prevent cancer or to survive it if they have the disease.
The President of the Association of Radiologists and Clinical Oncologists, Festus Igbinoba, gave the advice on Thursday at a programme organised by his association in Abuja.
The programme was held to reach out to Nigerians ahead of the World Cancer Day.
Mr. Igbinoba said awareness of the disease is the first step to avoiding it and early diagnosis the only way to cure it.
“We are aware that about 40 per cent of cancer cases are preventable, so if we know what to do and do the right thing, it can actually be prevented”, Mr. Igbinoba said.
“Of all the factors that cause cancer, cigarettes smoking and alcohol intakes carry a lot of weight. If you can stay away from these two, you can prevent yourself from having cancer,” he said.
He also said that cervical cancer has been regarded as a sexually transmitted disease as 21 per cent of it is caused by infection.
He noted that early detection of cancer can lead to cure stressing that cancer was no longer a death sentence as long as it was detected early.
Speaking on cervical cancer as a sexually transmitted disease, Mr. Igbinoba said the cancer is caused by a virus called Human Papilloma Virus which can be contacted from an infected person.
He said the way to prevent such type of cancer is to avoid unprotected sex with multiple partners.
“If you maintain a healthy lifestyle and don’t engage in indiscriminate sex, you are likely to prevent these viruses coming into your system”.
Diseases like HIV/AIDS brings down the immune system and leads to cancers. Also hepatitis B is known to cause liver cancer.
Some survivors of the disease shared their experience at the programme.
A survivor of prostate cancer, Samuel Iheine who hails from Umofo village, Imo State, said he was diagnosed in 2006 but that God has kept him alive for a purpose.
“When I was diagnosed of prostate cancer, I was going to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital from 2006 to 2010, until I travelled to India for treatment and the Lord healed me”
Also, 35-year old Timothy Terna, who is suffering from skin cancer and still undergoing treatment, said he was diagnosed in 2008.
“So far, it has been a horrible experience because it seems like living in a world of your own where you can’t relate freely because of the stinks from it”, Mr. Terna said.
“I have had 8 surgeries from 2008 till now. At a time I had radiotherapy and at the moment, I am on chemotherapy.”
Mr. Igbinoba however called on the government to make it a priority to put up more cancer centres and to make screening machines available.