Cancer: Increasing Cases of Diagnosis among Serving and Retired Personnel worry NAF; As NAFOWA President harps on increased awareness on Breast Cancer, measures to stay healthy

The President, Nigerian Airforce Officers Wives Association (NAFOWA), Mrs Elizabeth Olubunmi Amao has harped on the need for increased education and awareness on the increasing dangers posed by Cancer in the society particularly breast cancer to women and young girls, as well as cervix, prostrate and liver cancer.

The NAFOWA President made the disclosure just as the Chief of Medical Services, NAF, Air Commodore Olabode Babalola stated that the medical branch of the NAF has observed with great concern, an increase in the number of serving and retired personnel including spouses who are being diagnosed with various forms of cancer.

He regretted that unfortunately some of these cases are presented to Hospitals late by which time treatment would make very little impact adding, “This should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to give our health the priority it deserves.

NAFOWA President

Both of them spoke at the NAFOWA Cancer Awareness and Screening Programme which held at the 063 NAF hospital, at the Airforce Base along Airport road, in commemoration of the WHO Breast Cancer Awareness month which is October.

According to Mrs Amao, “Cancer is a public health challenge nowadays which is responsible for about 1 in 6 deaths worldwide. Therefore, creating awareness and educating the public is extremely important.

“This programme affords us a good opportunity to drum up awareness about cancer and how important it is to take proactive measures to stay healthy. As you may be aware, Cancer has no regard for class or creed and can affect anyone.

Continuing she said, “It is important to reiterate that many of the cancers can be effectively treated and this should encourage people to go for early screening. We must stay vigilant and take actions to reduce the modifiable risk factors associated with cancer.

“I encourage all of us to continue to help spread this message to friends, colleagues and families whenever possible in order to start taking charge of their life styles for better health. It is my belief that through our positive actions, together we can make a difference.

The NAFOWA President expressed appreciation to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao for his immense support to NAFOWA and for ensuring that quality health care provision for personnel and their families is made a priority.

Air Commodore Babalola

She commended the efforts of the Chief of Medical Services in helping to consistently create awareness about the Cancer scourge to the NAF community, adding, “We are very happy that Medical Services branch are ready to take responsible for the treatment of anyone that may be discovered to have issues in the course of these exercise”.

In his address, the CMS, Air Commodore Babalola expressed concern over the increasing diagnosis of cancer among serving and retired personnel of the Nigerian Airforce personnel and their spouses.

He said, “The rising burden of cancer with its attendant high mortality rates particularly in sub Saharan Africa has far reaching implications for the overall health of every day Nigerians and represents a major public health issue.

“Cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths in Nigeria every year with an estimated 102,000 new
cases diagnosed annually.

“It is projected that these figures will rise exponentially over the next couple of years unless urgent
action is taken by stake holders at all levels.

“From a Service perspective, the medical branch has observed
with great concern, an increase in the number of serving and retired personnel including spouses who are being diagnosed with various forms of cancer.

“Some of these cases unfortunately are present to Hospitals late by which time treatment would make very little impact.

“This should serve as a wake-up call for all of us to give our health the priority it deserves. Thankfully, with appropriate lifestyle modifications and regular health screening, there is some hope.

“It is pertinent that we give priority to preventive action as early detection is such an important weapon in the fight against cancer. It is in line with this that free Screening services for Cancers of the Breast and Cervix would be provided today at the
NAFOWA cancer screening centre”.

Commending the CAS, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao for his consistent support towards ensuring good health care for Personnel and their families, the CMS said, “The NAF under his able leadership continues to prioritize the provision of access to world class health care delivery. It is worthy of note that the CAS has gone to great lengths to provide medical care overseas for some of our Personnel and dependants who are battling advanced forms of cancers.

Guest Lecturer at the occasion, Dr (Mrs) Uchechukwu Nneka Shagaya, a Consultant Clinical Radiation Oncologist while speaking on ‘Reducing Cancer in Nigeria’, warned that between now and the year 2030, without intervention, 11 million people will die of cancer according to the World Health Organization report.

She said however that cancer is not a death sentence if properly managed and detected early noting that based on risks factors, one-third of all cancer cases can be treated while one-third can also be cured.

She said there are seven danger signals to alert patients of possible cancer signs including indigestion, lump on the breast, nagging cough, hoarseness of the voice/throat, changes in moles or warts, changing bowel habit and a sore that doesn’t heal no matter the treatment applied.

For prevention of cancer, Dr. Shagaya said a reduction or outright stoppage of smoking, stoppage of taking tobacco, living a healthy lifestyle, frequent consumption of fruits and vegetable, while embarking on physical activities and exercises can make a difference

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here