Nigerian women have been cautioned to guard against multiple sex partners with a view to prevent themselves from cancer. They are equally advised to go to the hospital for periodic health examination, test and screening to know their health status and ensure healthy living.
Ismail Obalowu, consultant, Family Medicine Department, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), gave this advice while addressing female journalists at a day seminar organised by the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Kwara State chapter, to mark its 2017 week, tagged “Health, Wellness and Self Empowerment.”
Obalowu, who spoke on ‘Preventive Health Care,’ noted that issues of breast and cervical cancers were rampant, as people do not go for check-up, saying, “Cancers prevalence in Nigeria is due to lack of care among women because they do not go to the hospital for screening.”
According to Obalowu, the significance of screening is to pick the problem early and be corrected, “Screening for cervical cancer should start before having sex. Cancer has different stages and when discovered on time, there is hope but when it reaches severe stage, there is no solution.
“Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) in woman develops to cancer. When one is infected, it continues expanding, that is why early detection is good to give vaccine for preventing HPV.”
The medical expert, who lamented that cancer cases keep recurring and now affecting young women, said: “It is pathetic that females between ages of 20 and 25 are now affected with cancer, unlike before where they reach 50 to 60 years of age.”
Speaking on risk factors of cervical cancer, he said: “Having multiple sex partners is lifetime risk because the more a woman is exposed to sex with different bodies, the likely to be affected.
“Therefore, women should have regular test and screening to save them from the scourge. Concerning breast cancer, they must examine their breasts. There may be rashes, lumps and other abnormal symptoms, once they noticed anything, doctors must be consulted to verify.”
On how to manage stress, he encouraged women to engage in good stress rather than the bad, saying, “We have two types of stress (good and bad); good stress is normal for the body because it will make you to be active, but bad stress is what your body is not ready for. Once you engage in it, free radicals get in contact to you liver, kidney and damage organs.”
He implored women to avoid unnecessary stress, do exercise according to your body tolerance, avoid sugary drinks, calories, eat more fruits, vegetable and fish and enjoy beans. Just as he advised to eat less salt and red meat, avoid buying water under the sun and use of nylon to make moinmoin as they are agents of cancers.
Earlier, Binta Abubakar Mora, chairperson, NAWOJ Kwara, said: “As female journalists, we have a lot of roles to play in the society by upholding professional work ethics, focus our reportage towards issues that can advance the wellbeing of women and children, health issues and gender equity.”
Kwara NAWOJ, according to Mora, has tow the line of health and wellness with emphasis on how both can be translated to self-empowerment.
“I came across a write-up which buttress the need for multiple source of income to balance as salary alone can not solve your problems. It delved into entrepreneurship because salary is a lifetime disappointment. Thus, everyone should be financially intelligent and literate,” said Mora.
While calling for support from relevant agencies to improve health, she said: “I appeal to the Federal Government to provide adequate support for states facing the outbreak of Meningitis type C, state government as well should make treatment affordable if not totally free and accessible to victims, vaccines should be made available for adequate prevention.”
Declaring the workshop open, Mahmoud Babatunde Ajeigbe, the state commissioner for information and communications, urged women journalists to prioritise their health, saying, “You must be healthy and agile to perform effectively, be more curious about your health because curative cost is more expensive than preventive.”
In his submission, Biodun Abdulkereem, the state chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists, charged NAWOJ to collaborate with relevant agencies to ensure that issues of maternal mortality and rape of girls were properly addressed and tackled.