Cancer & the God-forbid syndrome


When ever we hear the word “cancer”
, the first reaction many people have is ‘God forbid’ or “I reject it” but despite all these positive
confessions, cancers are on the rise worldwide and even so in Africa  In
Nigeria, Cancer is currently the 3rd most common cause of death and it gets
worse by the day. This article will focus on cancers in men and because 90 in
every 10,000 men in Nigeria have cancer with 72 in 10000 eventually dying from
it. We’ll talk about cancer in women next time don’t worry.

The most common cancers in men in order
of popularity are:  Prostate Cancer, Liver Cancer, Colon And Rectum Cancer, Other Cancers
(such as Testicular, Breast……Yup Men Can Have Breast Cancer), Bladder
Cancer And Oronasopharynx Cancers.
So what exactly is cancer:
Cancers is a general term for different
types of diseases involving abnormal cell growth. These abnormal cells have the
potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body and cause severe
damage. At the moment, . there are over 100 known cancers that affect humans and they are classified by the type of cell that is initially affected.
Who is at risk of having cancer?
1. Genetics (i.e. if you have a parent or
sibling who’s had cancer)
2. Tobacco use (as the slogan says,
smoker’s are liable to die young –of cancer and many other problems)
3. Obesity-this puts you at risk of many
diseases and cancer is just one more problem
4. Poor diet (Common risk for the modern
day person who eats high cholesterol diet that is low in natural fruits and
high in processed foods and fruits etc)
5. Age. The older you get the higer your
6. Environmental factors (exposure to
radiation,  asbestos, lead, industrial
wastes and gases)
7. Excesive drug use and some medical
treatments like hormone replacement therapies
8. Excessive alcohol consumption
9. Infections (H.pylori in the stomach,
Human Papilloma Virus in the throat and penis, Hepatitis B and C in the liver,
etc). have been found to be linked to certain cancers.
10. Inflammatory diseases.  disorders like ulcerative collitis and
Early detection, Possible cure. Late detection…?
Cancer is more likely to be cured if it
is detected when less advanced and early treatment is begun. Some symptoms are
an early warning of cancer and should help direct a person to seek medical
care. Some of the warning signs are general and may not help pinpoint a
particular cancer while some other symptoms are much more specific and steer
doctors to a particular kind of cancer or location. Unfortunately, most of
these symptoms are also caused by far less serious/fatal conditions, so some
people might ignore it. Nevertheless, the development of any of the warning
signs of cancer mentioned below should be paid attention to and well
Warning signs of possible cancer are:
Unexplained weight loss, Fatigue, Night
sweats, Loss of appetite, New & persistent pain, Recurrent nausea or vomiting,
Blood in urine, Blood in stool (either visible or detectable by special tests),
a recent change in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea), Recurrent fever, Chronic
cough, Changes in the size or color of a mole or changes in a skin ulcer that
does not heal, Enlarged or swollen lymph nodes.
What can you do to reduce your risk of cancer?
Quit smoking
Reduce your alcohol intake
3. Maintain a healthy diet including
vegetables, fruits and whole grain while avoiding processed foods and red meat.
4. Get vaccinated against vaccine
preventable diseases. Eg. HPV vaccine for preventing cervical cancer.
5. Maintain a healthy weight throughout your
6. Be physically active shunning
sedentary lifestyles.
7. Most importantly participation in
regular cancer screenings and having routine medical check ups on a yearly
Many people assume that Cancer is a death sentence,  but the truth is that most cancers are
treatable if detected early.
Written by Dr. T. Akinpelu. Follow him on twitter @akinpelutola

Dedicated to my friend with Breast cancer. Stay strong, you can beat it.

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