Cancer is one of the most dangerous diseases that affect humans. It is usually painful, hard to beat, and usually reduces the quality of life of its victims.
It is no respecter of person, it affects the young and the old alike, the rich and the poor. It can also affect almost every organ or part of the body that there is. there are different types of cancer but some are more common than others. Before we go into that, a quick look into what cancer is.
Cancer, the ribbon killer
Cancer does not really have a concise definition. It is more a collection of diseases that are related in the way they present. They always include the out of control replication of cells which eventually spreads to surrounding tissues.
Cancers usually form tumors, which are masses of tissue. These tumors are always malignant (they can spread and are persistent and virulent). Cancer is a genetic disease that is caused by changes in the genes that are in charge of cell functions.
This means that these cancer-causing genetic changes can be inherited from parents. It can also develop in the body due to errors that come up when cells divide. Finally, it can also be caused by damage to the body’s DNA because of exposure to cancer-causing environmental substances. These include tobacco, UV rays from the sun, and so on.
Popular cancer types in Nigeria
Cancer cases and deaths in Subsaharan Africa and Nigeria specifically have been increasing in the past few years. This is made worse because of late presentation and poor access to treatment.
According to the Globocan 2012 data, the top five cancer types that Nigerians present with include:
- Cervix uteri
According to the same study, the disease is responsible for 72,000 deaths yearly in Nigeria. There are also an estimated 102,000 new cases yearly. Of these 5 mentioned here, breast and cervical cancer are the most common making up about 50.3% of all cancer cases.
Things are not so bleak
Even though things seem bleak as more cancer cases and deaths are recorded every year. There are steps that you can take to keep yourself cancer-free. Eat healthily, and stay away from cancer risk factors. That is substances that predispose you to cancer like smoking and extreme exposure to sunlight.
Above all else, make sure to go for regular full body checkups and tests. Go for Hepatitis B and C tests, ladies examine your breasts regularly and your cervix too. Guys, have your prostate checked and make sure to examine your breasts too.
Finally, try not to ignore cancer warning signs. Be on your toes and do whatever you can to say to this deadly disease, not today cancer, not today.