The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Monday that 41,000 people lost their lives to cancer out of 166, 000 cases recorded in Nigeria last year.
Clement Peter, the WHO Nigeria Health Emergency Team Lead made the announcement while addressing reporters as part of activities to commemorate the World Cancer Day at the WHO Headquarters in Abuja.
Mr Peter said that Nigeria might continue to experience a rise in the scourge if stringent measures were not taken by individuals, communities and the Federal Government towards addressing the key
drivers of the disease.
He listed some of the key drivers as tobacco use, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diets.
The WHO chief said that the disease could be prevented and the burden reduced, if individuals, families and communities were willing and ready to make the necessary changes to their ways of life.
Mr Peter urged individuals, families and communities to therefore, engage in and adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as eating proper and healthy diets, engaging in appropriate exercises and ensuring routine medical check at all times.
He also urged the populace to ensure proper vaccination against cancer.
“In 2018, we recorded an estimated 166,000 cases of cancer burden in Nigeria and 41,000 deaths.
“The most prevalent types of cancer in the country are breast cancer, cervical cancer and prostate cancer.
“This disease is preventable if we as individuals, families and communities make the conscious decision to make healthy lifestyle choices.
“The driving forces of cancer are tobacco use, alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating habit and a lack of exercise.
“Alcohol consumption should be reduced. Most of us are busy therefore, we tend to eat fast foods, gain weight and fail to exercise, thereby increasing our chances of developing the disease.
“If we are able to address these issues in our own individual way, the burden of cancer is going to be reduced because the cost of diagnosis and treatment is expensive.”
He quoted the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, in her message to commemorate the World Cancer Day as saying: “A Future without Cancer is within our Individual and Collective Grasp”.(NAN)