IBADAN – Twenty two per cent of Nigeria’s adolescent population are ignorant of the early symptoms of leukemia (blood cancer), Dr Ayo Fayehun, Consultant, Family Health Department, University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, has said.
Fayehun made the statement on the side-line of an enlightenment programme on health for youths organised by Oluwapamilerin Oni Health Foundation.
He expressed concern that several youths in Nigeria particularly males, were unaware of the early symptoms of leukemia, which he said, could be prevented or reduced if detected early.
The consultant noted that the mortality rate of blood cancer was on the increase in Nigeria and stressed the need for stakeholders in the health sector to rise up to the challenge.
He said that chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a slow growing cancerous cell that affects the development of B-lymphocytes also known as B–cells and specialised white blood cells.
He said that though the cause of the disease was still unknown, “it is thought to result from damage to one or more of the genes that normally controls blood cell development.”
The physician listed some symptoms of leukemia to include: swollen lymph glands in the neck, under the arms or in the groin due to collection of lymphocytes in these areas.
He said the disease could be diagnosed through full blood count (FBC) or through examination of the bone marrow.
He said that leukemia could be treated through chemotherapy or through administration of drugs orally or intravenously.
In her remark at the occasion , Mrs. Omolara Oni, the Executive Director, Oluwapamilerin Oni Health Foundation urged mothers to be observant of changes in their children’s bodies and habits.
She said she lost her son to leukemia due to late detection of the disease, adding that she was ignorant of the symptoms of the disease exhibited by her late son.
She listed some of the symptoms to include anemia, malaria and swelling in the groin.
Oni said the health awareness programme was organised by the foundation to sensitise the youths on the symptoms of the disease.
Over 200 people including students, parents, the clergy, health workers, market women and men attended the programme.