Ehiatamah Ehinomem, an oncologist with National Hospital, Abuja, has warned that smoking and excessive intake of alcohol can increase the risk of developing colon cancer.
The oncologist gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Ehinomem said genetic mutation, exposure to radiation emitting from phones, computers, microwaves, electrical gadgets, viral and bacterial infections are factors that can also predispose an individual to cancer.
His words: “When there is a cancerous growth or tumour on the colon it leads to colon cancer which is characterized as out of control cell growth,” Ehinomem said.
“Symptoms of colon cancer include change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation, change in consistency of stool.
“Others are rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain in the abdomen.
“Colon cancer can be managed through radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy depending on the level of the disease.”
Ehinomem said colon cancer is more common among women, prominent among older people of 50 years and above with few cases of people in their 30s and late 20s.
The oncologist said inflammation and obesity are other factors that pose the risk for colon cancer while encouraging individuals susceptible to the diseases to consume more vegetables and fruit to avert the disease.
Ehinomem called on the government to create more awareness on cancer in rural communities and further improve the health insurance scheme for Nigerians, especially the poor and middle-class citizens.
The identified early diagnosis and adherent to treatment as crucial to saving lives, while urging patients to desist from patronising herbal and traditional medicines.
“Traditional and herbal preparations have not been shown or proven to cure cancers. If anyone thinks otherwise, they can let us know and demonstrate it. We are opened to learning with evidence-based facts,’’ he said.