By Esenvosa Izah
A mobile cancer centre, PinkCruise, has screened and treated no fewer than 10,000 people in Nigeria since its inception in 2018.
A Cancer Prevention Advocate, Dr Abia Nzelu, made this known at a free health outreach on Monday in Lagos to commemorate the 2019 World Cancer Day (WCD).
World Cancer Day is marked annually on Feb. 4 and the theme for the 2019 (WCD) is:“I Am and I Will“.
PinkCruise is the Mobile Health Outreach of the National Cancer Prevention Programme, an initiative of the Mass Medical Mission.
Nzelu, who is also the Executive Director, Mass Medical Mission, an NGO, said: “We have been going to communities in Nigeria since 2018 WCD.
“We have been to different communities in some states, including Lagos, Abuja and Delta and have reached about 10,000 people so far.
“We are urging people to send us invitations to their communities to screen them free of charge; the screening is not restricted to anybody or group.
“Any group including market women, churches, mosques, that knows it can mobilise enough people to participate can invite us.“
The organisation executive director said that the mobile cancer centre was the first of its kind in the world.
According to her, it has multifunctions including mammogram, colposcopy and cryotherapy, to treat precancerous stages of cervical cancer.
Nzelu said: “We also have in the PinkCruise where we store vaccines; endoscopy unit where we screen for cancers in the intestine.
“We want people to take advantage of the opportunity to get screened in order to prevent the burden of cancer in our society.“
She said the WCD was designated to rally the global community to be aware of the injustice of people dying of preventive cancers and to get together to tackle the burden of the diseases.
According to her, the 2019 theme reaffirms commitments to tackle the global cancer statistics.
“Globally, one in three persons is diagnosed of cancer; cancer is responsible for one in six deaths globally.
“In Nigeria, 200 people die everyday of cancer; 32 women die of breast cancer; 28 die of cervical cancer, 16 men die of prostate and 14 people, both men and women, die of liver cancer.
“We have made and are reaffirming our commitments to make sure we take cancer prevention to the grassroots, and everybody that is ready to partake of the free services that we have to offer, “ she said.
The coordinator said that “about 85 per cent of cancers are linked to behavioural and environmental factors and only 15 per cent are hereditary.
“Screening for cancers, therefore, will have different recommendations based on lifestyles, age and risk factors.
“For women, any woman up to 18 years old should go for clinical breast examination once in a year, to be done by a health practitioner and then, do self breast examination once a month.
“Once a woman is 40 years old, she should carry out a mammogram every year.
“For people who have risk factors, maybe, somebody who has a family history of cancer, have a higher risk of developing cancer, even at an earlier age than the family member who had it, “ she said.
A participant, Mrs Adaeze Chijioke, also a Senior Marketing Officer at the Nigerian Television Authority NTA 2 Network Centre, Lagos, said she was happy to participate in the screening.
Chijioke urged people to avail themselves of the opportunity to get screened.
“I want to thank the organisers for putting this free exercise together for people who cannot go out of their way to get screened.
“We need to create more awareness for people to know about cancer so that we can be part of those who will help to reduce the burden of the disease in Nigeria,” she said. (NAN)