Covenant News

2021 World Cancer Day: Experts Highlight Strategies for Prevention

As the world's nations commemorate the 2021 World Cancer Day on February 4, 20201, a call has gone out to people to adopt the stipulated five critical strategies for cancer prevention and optimal healthy living.

The Chief Medical Officer, Covenant University Medical Centre, Dr Ademola Adebanjo, highlighted the need for good dietary practice, indulging in physical exercise, getting adequate rest and appropriate sunlight as a starting means for tackling the scourge of cancer among the black race.

Dr Adebanjo made the call when he presented a paper titled 'Cancer: What I Need to Know – Making a Bold Statement on Prevent' to a cross-section of faculty, staff and students of Covenant University during a symposium on demystifying the disease that had killed more persons than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, the world over.

He noted that it was time for people to start eating for the sake of the body cells, as diet and lifestyle had become vital and basic means of fighting and preventing cancer.

Dr Adebanjo posited that being physically active decreased the risk of cancers related to post-menopausal breast, colorectal, and endometrial cancers. According to him, engaging in physical activities helped regulate blood levels of hormones, speed food through the colon, reduce exposure to carcinogens, and prevent body fat buildup.

While delivering a presentation on 'Reducing the Burden of Cervical Cancer in Nigeria', the Consultant Obstetrician/Gynaecologist at the Covenant University Medical Centre, Dr Adebayo Sekumade, said it was essential for a policy to be instituted to guide primary, secondary and tertiary prevention and control scheme of cervical cancer in the nation.

According to him, there was the need to scale up a cervical cancer screening program, integrate Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of girls into Novel Prognostic Index (NPI), and embark on mass enlightenment campaign programs outreaches. Also, he said there was a need to collaborate with international health organizations to subsidize the cost of HPV vaccines if we must reduce the burden associated with cervical cancer in Nigeria.

Dr Sekumade believed that the burden of cervical cancer was predominantly due to low coverage of screening programs in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), with Nigeria recording a paltry 10% screening rate. He identified weak healthcare systems, high burden of death rate and a large number of infected women as other burdens affecting the tackling of cervical cancer in the country.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Abiodun H. Adebayo, said the World Cancer Day was marked annually, to save millions of preventable deaths by raising awareness and education about cancer, galvanizing governments and individual efforts across the world to take action against the disease.

Professor Adebayo said available data indicated that 10 million people died from cancer every year, and at least one-third of common cancers were preventable. He added that appropriate prevention and detection of cancer strategies could save about 3.7 million lives each year.

"I encourage our faculty and staff to take advantage of this opportunity and to observe the expert advice on proven preventive measures to ward off cancer. Increased awareness and accurate information and knowledge can empower all of us to recognize early warning signs, make informed choices about our health, and counter our fears and misconceptions about cancer," he added.

The Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer of ACE-Medicare Clinics, Dr Oluwole Kukoyi, appreciated the University Management for availing the partnership opportunity between both institutions. Dr Kukoyi noted that information and knowledge were powerful entities that empowered to make rational and informed decisions about oneself.

He noted that the 2021 World Cancer Day celebration theme went a long way to demonstrate the two most important things in cancer management, which was knowing your status and taking appropriate action.

In her welcome remarks, the Chair, Community Development Impact Initiative Committee, Dr Tayo George, said that cancer was the second-highest cause of death after cardiovascular-related deaths. She said there was a need on the World Cancer Day to highlight cancer and related problems.

Dr George said the commemoration of the 2021 event in Covenant was geared at adding the community's voice to voices worldwide towards raising awareness and stemming the scourge of cancer, considering that 70% of world cancer-related cases were from LMICs.

The 2021 World Cancer Day event was a collaborative effort of Covenant University Community Impact Initiative Committee (CU-CDIIC) in conjunction with ACE-Medicare Clinic, Ota, with the theme, ‘I Am and I Will’.


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