No fewer than 26 Nigerian women die daily as a result of cervical cancer, a Radiologist, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, said Saturday in Lagos.
Okoye, also the Founder, Breast Without Spot (BWS) Initiative, an NGO, made the disclosure at the inauguration of a School-Based Cervical Cancer Vaccination Awareness Initiative, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
She said that cervical cancer is killing more people worldwide than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria put together.
“We conducted a survey and discovered that cervical cancer is the second killer cancer among women and Nigeria is also the tenth in cervical cancer death worldwide.
“Forty-eight million women are at risk, 17, 550 women are diagnosed yearly, 9, 659 women die annually and 26 women on daily basis in Nigeria. This is alarming and most of the cases are rampant in the developing countries like Nigeria. It, therefore, requires a proactive political commitment to fight the scourge,’’ she said.
Okoye said that cervical cancer was 99 per cent preventable and prevention was necessary for the reduction and control of cancer burden in the country.
The radiologist urged government at all levels to improve and strengthen the healthcare system in terms of funding, infrastructure upgrade and training of medical personnel.
She also urged Nigerians to imbibe regular health check to prevent late detection of cancer cases and cancer mortality.
Also speaking, Dr Joy Agbara, Senior Registrar, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), said it is unacceptable that many women still die when cervical cancer is preventable, treatable and curable.
Agbara said that lack of awareness, resources and low budgetary allocation to the health sector contributes to the country’s high rate of the disease burden.
She urged women to go for regular screening for early detection and prompt treatment.
“Cervical cancer has no particular symptoms but women should look out for signs such as pains around the cervix, painful intercourse, foul smelly discharge, weight loss and weakness. A lot of patients died due to lack of access to healthcare and high cost of cancer treatment,’’ she said.
In her remark, Miss Funmilayo James, BWS National Coordinator, said the school-based vaccination initiative was adopted to prevent cervical cancer in countries.
James said the initiative involved parents and school owners or administrators to consent and sponsor the vaccination of girls between the age of nine and 13 as a primary prevention.
“The programme will start off in Lagos schools and as time goes on, we will spread it across the other states of the country,’’ she said.