Authorities of University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) have raised an alarm over increased number of cancer patients in Edo and Delta.
The Coordinator of Cancer Registry in the hospital, Prof. Michael Okobia, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Benin.
Okobia said that on-going studies on the prevalence of the disease in Edo and Delta showed that the number of sufferers was on the increase.
He added that a study in 2009 showed that there were 1,090 patients of various types of the disease in the two sister states then.
The coordinator noted that 707 of the sufferers were females, while 383 were males.
He said cancer was preventable and efforts should be made to prevent the disease, pointing out that it was expensive to manage it in developing countries.
“Cancer is preventable and the road to cure is early detection and prompt treatment; so policies should made to encourage prevention and early detection.
“It takes between 10 and 20 years from the first time the fist change occurs in a cell to the time the cancer will show up.
“In Europe and America, cervical cancer is rare because you can prevent the infection through vaccination,” he said.
Okobia said age was the most common risk factor of cancer, stressing that as people grew older, the factors that predisposed them to cancer became manifested in their lives.
The coordinator added that the prevalence of cancer also depended on the population profile of a country.
“People in developing countries don’t live long enough and so they don’t develop certain cancers.
“Somebody has to live old to develop cancer; if a man does not live up to 55 years, he is most unlikely to develop prostate cancer.’’
He listed the most common types of cancer in males as shown in the 2009 study as prostate cancer, cancer of the colon, cancer of the anus, cancer of the lymph node, cancer of the Larynx (voice box) and cancer of the stomach.
He also listed the most common cancers in females as cancer of the breast, the cervix, the ovary, the soft and connective tissues, as well as the womb.
He explained that “cancer is caused by two main factors called genetic and environmental factors.
“Environment factors cover where we live, what we eat, the air we breathe, natural-biological interactions, sexual exposure, type of alcohol we drink and the type of work we do.
“Other environmental factors are the type and quantity of cigarette a person smokes because this predisposes the lungs and infections which can cause cancer of the stomach.
“About 5 -10 per cent of cancers like breast and prostate cancers are caused by genetic factors and are hereditary.’’