The Coordinator, National Cancer Prevention Programme, Lagos State branch, Dr. Abia Nzelu, has said that prostate cancer kills 14 men everyday in Nigeria.
Nzelu, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday, noted that the figure was based on studies.
She said that a large percentage of Nigerian men report their cancer cases late when the symptoms had already manifested and attributed the situation to ignorance.
According to her, people die unnecessarily, even when they were diagnosed because there are no facilities to treat them.
She said, “Prostate cancer, the second commonest cancer in men, kills 14 men in Nigeria every day. This is not acceptable because it can be prevented.
“India has over 120 comprehensive cancer centres and we don’t have even one centre that has everything to take care of any kind of cancer that can carry out world class research.
“We need something like this in our own country, because apart from the fact that those that have, can afford it and travel, what of those that cannot?
“In Nigeria, cancer is like a death sentence, that is why most deaths here are unnecessary; they are untimely.
“When we had the Dana crash, we are all shouting, but each day people are dying of cancer. Because, they are dying silently, we are not doing anything about it,” she said.
Nzelu said that prevention should be through life style modification, screening and routine checkups, at least once a year for those who are 40 years and above.
She said that regular exercise, losing weight and imbibing the culture of health maintenance could reduce the risk by 50 per cent.
She advocated the establishment of cancer centres in each of the six-geo-political zones, adding that such centres could be built through self-help projects rather than waiting for government.
“The only way to go about it is to get our own comprehensive cancer centres and we cannot wait for government to get them.
“And so the Nigerian Communications Commission has created a platform through which everybody, irrespective of economic status, can contribute, can save own life and save the lives of other people.
“By just contributing N100; by texting ‘Cancer’ to 44777; we will be able to achieve this; we will be able to build these cancer centres in the six geo-political zones.
“We will be able to have it at affordable rate for the poor people. Nigerians should join hands together so that we will achieve this great and noble venture.
“Because together it is possible, that was the theme of this year’s cancer day,” she said.