Nigerians have been urged to go for periodic screening, especially for colon cancer, which is said to be a huge burden on the country, as it is common among people above 40.
The President, Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria President, Prof Musa Borodo, gave this warning at a press briefing commemorating the 10th Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of the association in Ado Ekiti.
The goal of the conference is to explore better ways of treating diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, leveraging on technology.
Borodo warned that diseases such as colorectal cancer, liver cancer, helicobacter pyloris and other infections that occur in the gastrointestinal tract, are usually not easy to detect when looking out for signs and symptoms. And when the symptoms are obvious they are often too late to treat.
According to him, about 10 percent of people in Nigeria are suffering from Hepatitis B – a viral infection – which he warned could lead to cancer, if not properly treated.
“This (Hepatitis B) is something that can be prevented, if you don’t treat it, it could become cancer. So, it is a huge problem.”
Speaking on the theme, “Gastrointestinal Malignancies in Africa: Past, Present and Future,” Borodo said it was chosen to create awareness on early detection of cancer, prevention and cure.
“The forum is to increase knowledge, expertise and foremost research of interests in diseases affecting alimentary canal.”
Borodo lamented that two cases of cancer at end stage are reported daily in the treatment centre.
He advised people to take natural foods, avoid refined sugar, eat well, exercise regularly, drink clean water, visit hospitals for routine check up and stay away from smoking to avoid cancer.
Stating some of the cause of cancer, the Chairman, Local Organising Committee for the conference, Dr. Deji Ajayi, cautioned against taking burnt boli (plantain), burnt suya and refined drinks as they could cause cancer.
The Consultant General Surgeon, Lagos State University, Teaching Hospital, Dr. Mobolaji Oludara, lamented the dearth of equipment, training and materials in handling liver transplant in Nigeria.
He, however, added that it was a matter of time that liver transplant would become a regular feature.