The Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF) has lit up the National Mosque and the Ecumenical Centre in Abuja to raise awareness of cancer as the world commemorates the 2023 World Cancer Day.
The senior programme manager, MCF, Mrs. Hadiza Arome over the weekend, said that the country is joining the rest of the world to make a statement by lighting up a significant landmark, monument or building to be illuminated on World Cancer Day in the colours of orange and blue.
Science Nigeria reports that, over the years, international and local cancer organisations come together to create awareness by lighting up national monuments such as the Faisal Mosque (Pakistan), The House of Wisdom (UAE), Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and Galata Tower (Istanbul), St. Mary’s Church (Slough), Ely Cathedral (Cambridgeshire), Ancient Treasury (Petra), Palace of Westminster (UK) and the BT Tower (London).
In Nigeria, the MCF has lit the City Gate (Abuja).
Arome said that World Cancer Day is more than a day on the calendar.
“That’s why the campaign is built to inspire change and mobilise action long after the day itself.
“A multi-year campaign means more exposure and engagement, more opportunities to build global awareness and ultimately more impact,” she explained.
She assured of a great chance of prevention and survival if breast and cervical cancer are detected in their early stages.
According to her, when some Nigerians hear ‘cancer’, they imagine it to be a death sentence and a money-consuming illness. She called on women to take appropriate precautions to avert getting into advanced stages.
“Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer globally, with about 2.6 million cases. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) [there are] about 2.6 million cases globally.”
She noted that some of its early symptoms include lumps, bloody discharge or discolouration, while advanced symptoms may translate to feeling unwell if it gets to the liver, with either spinal or lower back pain.
“If you constantly check your breasts, then you will understand when there are signs. The only problem we have is that people present their cases to the doctor when it is already in the advanced stage. Early detection, screening and prevention are very important.
“[For women, check your breasts every month. Go for a mammogram once you turn 40, because as good as your hands are, the procedure helps to detect properly.
“If you have a history in your family, then it should start earlier. Ensure your lifestyle is tilted towards preventing cancer. Breast cancer examination is affordable while the treatment is quite expensive,” she advised.
Also speaking at the event, the programme manager, MCF, Mr. Saviour Kolo said that World Cancer Day is a singular initiative under which the entire world can unite in the fight against the global cancer epidemic.
Kolo said one of the goals of the celebration is to help prevent millions of deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer and pressing governments and individuals across the world to act against the disease.
Science Nigeria recalls that the theme for World Cancer Day 2022-2024 is ‘Close the Care Gap’.
Nigerians are also advised to acknowledge the day by wearing one of the cancer awareness ribbons.
A multi-coloured ribbon or lavender ribbon can be worn to acknowledge all cancers or a specific colour ribbon for a specific form of cancer can be worn.