With over 8.2 million people dying of all manner of cancer yearly, it is now the highest killer disease in the world, The PUNCH has learnt.
This is as the International Agency for Research on Cancer says Nigeria has the highest number of women dying from cervical cancer in Africa.
The agency released the report on Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland as the United Nations marked the World Cancer Day.
The report noted that the world recorded more than 14.1 million of cancer cases in 2012 while its incidence rose by 11 per cent in the last four years.
The report stated, “As a single entity, cancer is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide. There is an estimated 8.2 million deaths from cancer in 2012 while 14.1 million cancer cases were recorded in the same year-equal to the population of India’s largest city Mumbai. Cancer cases worldwide will rise by 75 per cent and reach close to 25 million over the next two decades.”
It added that deaths occasioned by the disease were growing at an alarming rate, particularly among the poor and those living in low and middle-income countries.
The Director of the agency, Dr. Christopher Wild, in the report also noted that Africa, Asia and South America topped the list of continents with the highest cancer cases and deaths in the world.
He said, “Sixty per cent of the world’s new cases of cancer occur in Africa and Asia. These new figures and projections send a strong signal that immediate action is necessary to confront this human disaster, which touches every community worldwide without exceptions. The rise of cancer worldwide is a major obstacle to human development and well-being.”
Besides, the report said Nigeria was second after India among countries with the highest cervical cancer deaths.
Countries with worse indices, it added, were Brazil and Bangladesh.
According to the report, these four countries account for 50 per cent of cervical cancer deaths in the world.
Speaking on the theme of the 2014 World Cancer Day, “Debunking the Myth & Vaccinate Your Goals”, a professor of Radiology at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Nsukka, Enugu, Ifeoma Okoye, urged the FG and other stakeholders to work towards providing HPV vaccines against cervical cancer in the country.
Speaking on “Debunking the Myth & Vaccinate Your Goals”, on Tuesday, Okoye, who called for the inclusion of the vaccine in the national immunisation scheme, said it would greatly help in the reduction of cervical cancer in the country.
She said, “About 14,550 cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually in Nigerian women within the age range of 15 and 44 years. Unfortunately, no fewer than 9,569 of them die of it due to late detection and prevention. Yet, this is the most preventable cancer in the world.”
She also stressed on the need for the authorities to ban smoking in public places as well as to enforce other environmental laws to check the increasing cases of liver and lung cancers in the country.
She added, “Tobacco control has been effective all over the world except in developing countries like Nigeria where people smoke at will at any time. Even for those that do not smoke, they inhale smoke from generators and car. If you are around someone that smokes, there is the likelihood that you can inhale 60 per cent of the smoke. You might as well be smoking because you are affected.
“The incidence of lung and liver cancers has been linked with the increased urbanisation. It is the government that can enforce tobacco control and reduce the environmental risks associated with cancer.”
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