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Cancer Is Curable, Preventable – Expert 

By Yvonne Massa Ako

“Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer in women followed by breast cancer. Those highly vulnerable to this disease are women from 35-40 years.” These were the words of the President of La “Territoriale Active,” Nicole Okalia Bilai, during a workshop to empower women on the dangers of the disease at Mountain Hotel, Buea. According to the 4th Deputy Mayor of Buea, Comfort Ojongpot: “This initiative will place an enabling environment for greater awareness regarding the damaging effects of this silent killer,” she said, adding that: “We are aware of the enormous contribution women make in the development of our society; be it personal, physical, educational or socio-economic, I am convinced that your actions will increase public awareness about this disease within our municipality enabling women and young girls to become more committed to seek necessary actions to prevent their health” 

The Southwest Regional Delegate for Health, Victor Mbome Njie, stated that everybody has the right to health, but the responsibility to health cuts across society. To him, cancers have become prevalent nowadays as opposed to infectious and parasitic diseases that were rampant in the past decades. “Cancers in Cameroon are a public health concern, so, the Ministry of Health, alongside the Government, have put in place a National Cancer Control Committee,” said Mbome Njie. He added that, though cervical cancer and breast cancer are the leading cancers amongst others like prostate cancer and leukaemia: “We can only fight them if we create awareness; the people are conscious of what it is, how to prevent it and how to get early treatment.” 

According to a Pathologist, Director of Yaounde Cancer Registry, Director of Regional Hospital, Buea, who is in charge of cancer directory in Cameroon, Dr Enow Orock, cancers are abnormal proliferation of cells that grow rapidly out of control and form masses of tissues. Cancer may invade nearby and faraway tissues of the body if they are not treated early. “You may have cervical cancer and it develops and attacks the lungs,” he declared. He remarked that Cameroon has one of the highest incidents of cervical cancer with 87.3 percent in the whole of the Gulf of Guinea with 25,000 prevalent cases. Meanwhile, 110 cases per 100.000 inhabitants were recorded in Yaounde. He added that Cameroon has 1,000 cases of cancer annually with females being the most infected population. Enow said, only 16 percent of infected patients go to the hospital at the early stage of the illness, while 84 percent wait until the cancer has advanced to the invasive stage “At this stage, treatment is more expensive and survival becomes difficult,” He said.  Enow Orock told participants, who included women of La Territoriale Active, CEFAM women, penitentiary workers, female workers in the Governor’s Office and other female civil servants the cause, prevention and treatment of cancer of the cervix. He remarked that treatment depends on the stage of the disease and age of the patient.

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