BENIN CITY- A Consultant Paediatric Haemato-Oncologist of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Dr. Magdalene Odunvbun has said exposure to radiation, pesticides, oil spillage from extraction of petroleum products in oil producing communities and even genetics play key roles at predisposing people to cancer in society.
She disclosed that there are no known causes of Cancer except for likely factors which expose people to the disease adding that Cancers are malignant growths which affect any part of the human organs including the skin, which cause a form of deformity or even death, with an attendant high cost of treatment regimen.
While lamenting on the present spike in Leukemia cases in children and the causes of Cancer, the Paediatric Oncologist stated that though there are no known causes of Cancer, however, the exposure to radiation from the bombing of Hiroshima by the America Forces led to the sudden emergence of high rates of cancer cases in that community which was suggestive that the exposure led to increased Cancer cases in Japan.
Dr. Magdalene Odunvbun who also mentioned that exposure to certain drugs, especially those used in making pesticides and exposure to benzene found in things including plastics contribute to the emergence of cancers hinted that it could also be genetic because if a mother has breast cancer there are chances that her daughters would also have it
Enlightening on the prevalence of cancer, she emphasized, “In UBTH alone we saw about 141 children with cancers, of which 65 were new cases of cancer last year. This year, we have not yet taken count of the total number of cases seen but on the average, we manage between 140 to 145 children with Cancers yearly.”
She Stated that the treatment process for Cancer is usually on the high side, especially when patients present late at hospitals and she appealed to government to make provision for children as well as enroll them into a free treatment process instead of only focusing on the treatment process for cancers in adults.
She therefore advised parents to seek medical intervention once they notice their children, “Bumping into objects, having nodules growing in their necks or anywhere; when you see a child with a mass growing anywhere, such children should be taken to the hospital. Some parents go to hospital, but it is not every doctor that understands that not everything that they are treating are so innocuously malignant. Doctors should know that if they see a tumour anywhere, the advice is to take a piece of that tumour and send it for a biopsy and then send the child to the appropriate facility where that child’s health can be managed.”