Speaking in Enugu on Wednesday during the Physicians’ Week organised by the Nigeria Medical Association, Enugu branch, Okoye noted that if cancer infections continued to rise without adequate modalities to control it, the country’s gross domestic product would be affected.
“This is because if those in productive age bracket are infected with cancer, their level of growth and productivity will be affected and this will in turn affect their individuality, community and the government,” she said.
She regretted that many chronic diseases were not adequately addressed in the country, especially in the rural areas as many people living with cancer did not have access to primary health care.
Okoye said that the UN Cancer Control Programme was not implemented in the country and urged the governments to invest in health care to develop its own cancer plan.
The professor of radiation medicine said that tobacco intake, excessive alcohol, environmental factors and people’s lifestyle were the major causes of cancer.
She said that early detection, medical check-up and supportive medicine would make a difference as she urged the government to promote Hepatitis B immunisation which was capable of impacting on cervical cancer.
She advised the NMA to use the programme and reach out to the people, especially those in the rural areas.