Cancer has remained top of the list of diseases that reduce the wellness of persons across the world, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria.

According to World Health Organisation’s 2020 report, cancer tops the list of killer diseases, with nearly 10 million deaths worldwide. In Nigeria, cancer was responsible for over 78,800 deaths in 2020, with women bearing the brunt, as breast and cervical cancers were responsible for the most deaths. Data also showed that at least 44,699 women died of cancer in 2021. 

Nigeria has one of the highest cancer mortality rates in the world, with approximately four out of five cases resulting in deaths, according to the Global Cancer Observatory.


What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. It can start in any organ or tissue of the body and go beyond its usual boundaries to spread to other organs. 

The incidence of cancer rises dramatically with age, most likely due to a build-up of risks for specific cancers. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows. Some types of cancer cause rapid cell growth, while others cause cells to grow and divide slower. Certain forms of cancer result in visible growth called tumors, while others, such as leukemia, do not.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 33 percent of cancer deaths may be caused by tobacco, excessive alcohol, obesity, poor nutrition, and not getting enough physical activity. 

It is essential to abstain from such factors and invest in a healthy life. Consume more fruits and vegetables and engage in regular exercise.

We are also advised to go for regular medical checkups as early detection leads to better outcomes. Heredity may sometimes appear to be the reason for cancer, especially when the same types of cancers run in families. Many experts recommend genetic testing for cancer risk when someone has a personal or family history that suggests an inherited cancer risk condition. The results will provide information that will help guide a person’s future medical care.