YWCA Takes Cancer, Healthy Lifestyle Awareness to Lagos Community

Uchechukwu Nnaike

The Lagos Central Group of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), recently organised a cancer awareness and lifestyle support outreach at Sabo Market, as part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Cancer Day.

The event featured lectures on cancer and general wellness, free lifestyle disease screening; free liver and kidney check; free cervical and prostate cancer screening; free reading glasses, among others. 

According to the Vice-Chairperson, YWCA Lagos branch, Dr. Olatokunbo Oseni, who is the President of the Lagos Central Group, this year’s programme with the theme ‘Closing the Cancer Care Gap’, was targetted at people who do not have access to the regular screening that helps to fight cancer at the early stages.

She stressed the need to find and repeatedly check for things that can be managed before it becomes full-blown cancer. 

Oseni advised people to imbibe the culture of checking their health regularly, like an annual medical check-up, and to make the necessary lifestyle changes to avoid diseases. She also emphasised healthy living and diet, saying that people should let food be their medicine, not medicine be their food. 

One of the facilitators, Dr. Oluwayemi Banjoko, described cancer as the second leading cause of death worldwide. She said though there is no proven cause of cancer, people can be predisposed with some risk factors that they can minimize to help them prevent or avoid cancer.

She stressed that cancer can be prevented if people go for regular check up and ensure that whatever is wrong with them is detected on time when it can be treated.

According to her, some of the lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of cancer include, avoiding smoking and alcohol intake, engaging in regular exercise, eating nutritious and colourful diet.

Banjoko, added that getting girls vaccinated against human papilloma virus also reduces risk of cervical cancer. She said every female in their child-bearing should go for cervical cancer screening every two-three years. 

Dr. Damilola Akinlawon, who spoke on prostate cancer, said it mainly affects black men and the risk increases from age 40. Other risk factors he said include obesity, smoking, alcohol intake, sitting for long, exposure to chemical from plastic, among others. 

He stressed the need for regular screening for men above 40, healthy diet and exercise.

The head of the market commended YWCA for bringing the awareness to the market, because most business men and women find it difficult to leave their shops to attend such programmes.

He added that some of the tests are expensive, but through events like this, people will have access to some services that they could not afford. He advised the community members to take advantage of such opportunities to get checked, and to go for regular screening to prevent cancer and other illnesses.

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