A non-governmental organisation, Move Against Cancer Africa (MACA), a cancer advocacy NGO, has launched a lung cancer prevention awareness programme in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Mr Caleb Egwuenu, the project director of MACA, told newsmen on the sideline of the campaign that the awareness was part of the group’s initiative toward marking the 2018 Lung Cancer Awareness Month (LCAM).
November is a global Lung Cancer Awareness Month designed to raise awareness on the need for more research and better community education about the disease.
According to Egwuenu, the campaign is to educate Nigerians on some common, but unhealthy practices that can cause lung cancer.
He said: “As we know, November is the awareness month for lung cancer, therefore, we have seized this opportunity to launch the sensitisation.
“This is in line with our goals at MACA to educate people on cancer and to reduce cancer-related burden and its consequent death rate in our society.
“Like we did in October as the awareness month for breast cancer, we are using this month to provide information to Nigerians on lung cancer, especially on its prevention.”
Dr Abiodu Egwuenu, a Volunteer Epidemiologist with MACA, during her presentation at the awareness programme, said that lung cancer was the most common type of cancer among males and the third most common cancer among females in developing countries.
She added that “for several decades now, lung cancer has been the most common in the world and it claims more lives each year than colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers combined.
“Research has shown that 58 per cent of new cases occur in less developed regions, and this is why awareness is very crucial.”
She identified some risk factors of lung cancer to include smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens and family history of lung cancer.
According to her, exposure to radon, a gas produced by breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water, also causes lung cancer in the long run.
Egwuenu explained that symptoms of lung cancer include persistent cough, coughing up blood, even a small amount, chest pain, bone pain and worsening shortness of breath, among others.
She, therefore, warned that people should beware of second hand smoke by avoiding areas where people smoke, such as bars and restaurants where smoking is permitted.
“Prohibition of smoking in public places, including child care facilities, will help in checking second hand smoke,” she said.
MACA is an NGO that provides essential medical information to people affected by or concerned about cancer.