The University’s Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC) and the FUNAAB Heath Centre, in collaboration with the Family Resources and Youth Foundation International; the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta; and the Primary Health Centre, Osiele; recently embarked on a Cancer Awareness Campaign, to sensitize market men and women on the deadly disease.

The campaign, which was held at the Osiele Market in the Odeda Local Government Area of Abeokuta, is one of the extension services provided by AMREC, to improve the livelihood and health of men and women of the communities within and around Abeokuta, where the University is located.

Professor (Mrs) Grace Sokoya, Project Co-ordinator of the University’s Farm-Family Health Project, AMREC-FUNAAB, while addressing participants on the need for the campaign, gave an overview of what cancer is all about.

According to her, cancer develops when cells in the body begin to grow and divide in a malignant way. This abnormal growth then interferes with the body’s ability to function properly, leading to serious illness or even death, making cancer to be the second leading cause of death in the world.

She attributed the causes of cancer to include hereditary, lifestyles and environmental factors and that through regular awareness; it will be possible to detect the disease early.

In her talk titled Breast Cancer, Professor Sokoya disclosed that breast cancer affects both men and women, as she advised that regular breast examination and mammography of women above 40 years of age were necessary, for quick diagnosis.

The Project Co-ordinator identified other risk factors, which could contribute to the development of cancer, to include age (for those above 50 years), female gender, family history, genetic composition, early menstruation, timing of first pregnancy, early menopause and having obesity after menopause.
She reiterated the need for all women to prevent breast cancer by desisting from the use of contraceptives, frequent exposure to x-rays, cigarette smoking, excessive intake of alcohol and fatty foods.

Professor Sokoya enjoined the participants to cultivate the habit of consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as engaging in regular exercise.

Mrs Ibironke Olatunji of the Health Centre gave a practical demonstration of Breast Self Examination, as she encouraged women to practice the BSE by standing in front of a mirror or lie down facing-up, to examine whether any of the nipples is growing bigger than the other, and to watch out for any form of abnormality. She advised that it was always better to carry out this examination, just before or after the monthly menstruation. Mrs Olatunji charged women to seek immediate medical assistance whenever they observed an unusual growth in their bodies.

Mr Ramon Balogun of the University’s Health Centre highlighted the symptoms of Prostate Cancer to include difficulty in urinating, dripping of urine and frequent urination at night. He attributed the risk factors to include age, family history, high intake of fat, recurrent or improper treatment of sexually-transmitted diseases and having multiple sex partners. He recommended early detection and treatment, in order to give the patient high rate of recovery.

On Cervical Cancer, Mrs Olubunmi Vaughan, from the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, said the ailment is caused by persistent infection with the high risk Human Papilloma Virus, which is rarely found in women, younger than 20 years of age. She advised that every woman should start Cervical Screening, about three years whenever they began having sexual intercourse. Mrs Vaughan added that women, who were prone to the disease, were those who began copulation early in life, those with multiple sex partners, those sleeping with uncircumcised males, as well as those that are obese.

Speaking at the occasion, the Director of AMREC, Professor (Mrs) Carolyn Afolami, appreciated all for attending the awareness campaign and gave the assurance that the Centre, and the University in general was committed to enlightening the people on issues that touched their lives. The Director was represented by Dr (Mrs) Funmi Oluwalana.
Highlights of the campaign include an awareness rally, rendering of screening and check-up services to participants