The minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Jummai Al-Hassan, has described cancer as one of the world’s greatest health epidemics of the 21st century with more than 14 million people developing the disease every year.
Speaking at the commissioning of one of 28 cancer screening centers built by the Live Empowered Anchors Hope (LEAH) charity foundation of the wife of Kwara state governor, Deaconess Omolewa Ahmed, in Ilorin on Monday, Hajia Alhassan said that cancer related deaths had surpassed deaths attributed to HIV virus, TB and malaria combined, adding that WHO statistics revealed that the figure is projected to rise to 21 million by 2030.
“Global cancer epidemic is huge and on steady rise. Estimate shows that one out of every three persons will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. By 2030, it is projected that one in every two persons will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. More than 14 million people are said to develop cancer every year. This figure is projected to rise to 21 million by 2030. According to WHO current data, cancer is responsible for almost one in every six deaths globally. Each year about 8.8 million people die from cancer and two third of the death occurred in developing countries including Nigeria. WHO records show that 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer every year and 80,000 died from the disease. 240 Nigerians die every day or 10 Nigerians die of cancer every hour and it is one of the worst records in the whole world”, she said.
The minister, who said that contracting cancer was not due to bad luck as superstitiously held by some people, added that scientific reports related cancer to environmental factors, things related to lifestyle, genes and some unknown factors, stressing that healthy weight, right eating, and no smoking habit could reduce chance of developing cancer.
She also said that regular screening and early detection of cancer could help its incidences, commending the wife of the governor on her efforts through the foundation at tackling the magnitude of the epidemic in Nigeria.
The minister also called on people in the state to make judicious use of the screening centers, especially the one inside the Ilorin General Hospital for early detection to save their lives, particularly lives of women, children and vulnerable.
Also speaking, the wife of the governor, Deaconess Omolewa Ahmed, said that there were ongoing plans to upgrade some of the 28 cancer screening centers spread across the 16 local government areas of the state in collaboration with the state hospitals management bureau.
Deaconess Ahmed also said that the foundation would soon have a specialist hospital for treatment of women already diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer in order to provide adequate specialized care and monitor their treatment.
She said that HPV vaccines would be administered on children at LEAH cancer screening centers, adding that HPV was said to be one of the causes of cervical cancer.