From Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Project Pink Blue, a leading cancer-fighting organisation in Nigeria, in partnership with the Global Colon Cancer Association (GCCA), has championed an enlightenment campaign on colorectal cancer awareness.

It explained that colorectal cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in Nigeria after breast, prostate, and cervix. It’s ranked the fourth most prevalent cancer, and the fourth leading cause of death as noted by the World Health Organisation’s 2022 Global Cancer Observatory.

Ms Gloria Okwu, the Programme Coordinator of Project Pink Blue, in her speech at the campaign, stressed the importance of the partnership with GCCA in enlightening Nigerians particularly younger ones about the cancer and its dynamics.

She said that, as a leading cancer-fighting organisation in Nigeria, Project Pink Blue has engaged in cancer awareness, patient advocacy, treatment support, oncology education, and cancer research.

Ms Okwu, appealed to the participants to pay attention to their bodies for unusual signs and suggested periodic thorough checks if certain symptoms persist. “I say this because, from my personal interactions with patients, it is safe to say that colorectal cancer is one of the most misdiagnosed cancers in Nigeria”.

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She confirmed that the engagement was lively as all participants were adorned with blue hats, bow ties, headbands, or pin-ups to recognise the colour of colorectal cancer, and they also committed to being forerunners with the message using their various platforms to continue creating the awareness.

Dr Chinedu Simeon Aruah, a Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist at the National Hospital Abuja, in a lecture provided detailed information on how the colorectal cancer operates, and what the participants can do in case of any unexpected signs.

Dr Aruah, who is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), charged the participants to become vanguards of early detection of the disease.

“Colorectal cancer, just like other types of cancer if detected early before symptomatic manifestation has a higher chance of cure. So, people should be health conscious and avoid harmful habits that could predispose them to the dreadful disease

“It’s important you get screened, maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking, be physically active, limit alcohol intake, limit red meat consumption (especially processed meat), get enough calcium and vitamin D, eat more whole grains and fibre. These are ways to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer” said Dr Aruah.