Prof. of Pathology raises alarm over prevalent of cancer in Cross River

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By Bassey Bassey, Calabar

The director of Calabar Cancer Registry, Prof Ima Obong A. Ekanem has raised alarm over the prevalent of cancer in Calabar, Cross River State capital.

Prof Ekanem who is also the head of Department of Pathology in the faculty of medicine in the College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital lamented the prevalent of the disease in the metropolis.

“There is very high incidence of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer prevalent among women in Calabar, higher than what is obtainable elsewhere” She said.

She disclosed that there is relatively high incidence of prostate cancer and Kaposi sarcoma in men and cervical cancer in women and regretted the breast cancer in women.

Speaking in Calabar, ahead of the World Cancer Day celebration, the Prof Ekanem explained that experts in pathology do not yet understand the reason for the very high prevalence of cancer but noted that further investigations need be carried out.

According to her, HIV-associated cancer such as cervical cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma and Lymphoma are among the most common cancers in Calabar.

She said that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancers in women just as it is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women worldwide where 1.7m new cases were diagnosed few years ago.

The Prof pointed out that men in their forties are mostly affected by the ravage of cancer.  “The age specific incidence of prostate cancer which is the leading cancer among men in Calabar rises sharply from age 40-44 years.

“This possibly may be due to an increased number of urologists in the teaching hospital during the period this study leading to more cases being diagnosed”

Prof Ekanem noted that over a third of all cancer cases are preventable by reducing exposure to risk factors. She recommended that early detection of cancers including the use of screening programs, better awareness and service availability can lead to early diagnosis.

“However, such screening is not affordable by majority of the women.  For these detection program to be effective, a strong health care system must be in place to provide equity of access to diagnosis, treatment and palliative care of all cancer patients.”

She appealed to public spirited individuals, groups, governments and firms to come to the aid of the cancer registry with supports to enable delve more into research and registrations

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