The Nigerian Association of Women Entrepreneur (NAWE), Delta State branch, has urged the government to regulate the consumption of tobacco, as well as the excessive intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and salt, which are high-risk factors behind the country’s alarming cancer burden.
NAWE, in a statement signed by its State Chairperson, Amb. Philomena Badaiki, noted that an upsurge in cancer cases has been recorded in Nigeria in recent times, alongside other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Badaiki made the statement to commemorate the World Cancer Day 2024.
According to the National Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, Nigeria records over 120,000 new cases of cancer annually, while the National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan (2018-2022) estimates that Nigerians spend N12 billion annually on cancer treatment.
The NAWE Chairperson however noted that tobacco use is a leading cause of cancer and cancer-related deaths. SSBs are associated with a heightened risk of obesity-related cancers, including kidney and colon cancers, while the excessive intake of salt is linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer, among other health issues.
She advised the government to tackle the problem from its roots, adding that better monitoring and regulation of tobacco, SSBs and salt consumption, among other measures, was a great place to start.
“The government cannot tackle the rising cases of cancer without addressing the risk factors holistically. These include taking concrete actions against tobacco use, the unhealthy consumption of salts, sugar-sweetened beverages, and other unhealthy dietary trends,” she said.
Badaiki encouraged the government to improve public health by enforcing tobacco control measures as provided in the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015 and the Nigeria Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019.