To reduce the population of Nigerian women dying of cancer, the Lagos State government has provided free breast and cervical screening for women under its employ. In a statement by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, in Lagos on Thursday, the screening exercise for female civil servants was designed to prevent deaths arising from these two non-communicable diseases.
He said the five-day exercise would also encourage early treatment and detection of the preventable but deadly cancers in women.
Idris, who described breast cancer as an abnormal growth in the tissue of the breast, warned that early detection is key as younger women are being diagnosed with this form of cancer.
According to him, statistics have revealed that breast cancer which occurs in women of all age groups is more prevalent among women less than 30 years as they account for 15 per cent of diagnosed cases while other age groups carried a 10 per cent life time risk of developing breast cancer.
He said, “Breast cancer is the commonest form of cancer killing Nigerian women while cervical cancer is the genital cancer killing women especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is also the second commonest cancer affecting women in Nigeria. Both cancers are preventable and could be managed if detected very early. Early detection is the first line of management we are employing to prevent unnecessary deaths in women.”
The commissioner added that one of the factors responsible for high rate of deaths is low level of awareness among Nigerians, adding that this had informed the state government’s decision to develop enlightenment and screening programme for women in its employ.