Cancer has been found to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, accounting for 14 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012 (1). According to World Health Organization, the number of new cases is expected to increase by as high as 70% over the next two decades (2). Cancer is a major public health problem worldwide with a high morbidity and mortality rate, affecting people of all color, age, and sex. Over 60% of the global total new cases of cancer yearly occur in Africa, Asia and Central and South American; and these regions account for 70% of the global cancer deaths (1). The risk of certain cancers such as breast cancer increases with age. Breast cancer has been found to be the most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, and Asian / Pacific Islander women (3).

Arm of Hope foundation (AHF), in their bid to reduce the burden of cancer, carried out a cancer workshop and free screening program aimed at increasing people’s knowledge about the causes of cancer, the need for early detection, and prompt treatment. In men one of the common sites of cancer is the prostate, while in females the breast and cervix has been found to be one of the common sites, hence for the purpose of this program, the foundation focused on breast, cervical, and prostate cancer.

According to world cancer report, the number of new cases of cancer yearly is expected to increase from 14 million in 2012 to 22 within the next 2 decades (1). AHF works tirelessly to reduce this increase interventions aimed at prevention of cancer by offering intermittent cancer awareness programs, early detection, free screenings, prompt diagnosis and free treatment to affected individuals.
Target Audience: Women of reproductive age and men above 35years of age.

Objectives of the program:

• Increase awareness on breast, cervical, and prostate cancer
• To increase people’s knowledge on cancer risk and prevention
• To increase access to free affordable cancer screening, enable early detection, prompt diagnosis, and proper treatment.
• To reduce the overall morbidity and mortality of cancer.

Discussion and Activities

During the cancer program, health education were given on the causes of cancer, the risk factors, and the importance of screening and early detection. Discussion aimed at lifestyle / behavioral modifications and dietary changes were given to the participants. They were counseled on the avoidance of risk factors, on the
The risk factors discussed include:
• Tobacco
• Alcohol use
• Unhealthy diets with low fruits and vegetable intake
• Physical inactivity with increased Body Mass Index (BMI)
• Sexually transmitted HPV infection
Cancer screening
The cancer screening was aimed to identify individuals with abnormal findings suggestive of a specific cancer or that shows pre-cancerous changes. A total of 393 people were in attendance for the program held in September 2011 by AHF, among which 50 were men who had prostate cancer education and free screening, while 343 were women who had breast and cervical cancer education and free screening. Among the 343 women, 252 had both cervical and breast screening, 54 women opted for only breast screening, while 37 others were only screened for cervical cancer.
Table showing gender distribution of the cancer screening participants









The table and pie chart below shows the distribution of the people in the specific cancer screenings




Breast screening only



Cervical screening only



Both cervical and breast screening





The following chart below shows that during the AHF Cancer prevention program that, 303 women were screened for breast cancer, 288 other had cervical screening, while 50 men had prostate cancer screening.


Pictures above show various activities during the AHF Free cancers screening excercise

Among the total 393 women who were screened, 23 of whom were found to have pre-cancer and cancer related abnormalities. 19 out of these cases were sent to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching hospital for further evaluation, prompt diagnosis and proper treatment. The treatment was received over the course of 3 months in 2011.

Early detection, prompt diagnosis, and proper treatment reduces the number of deaths and improves the chances of cure. Late detection and treatment reduces the curative rate of the cancers and worsens outcome. There is need for continued cancer awareness, education, and increased access to screening as this will reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with certain cancers. AHF continues in it’s strive to reduce the burden of cancer in Nigeria by providing free access to cancer screening, prompt diagnosis, and proper treatment. There is need for government, non-governmental, and other private agencies to adopt interventions aimed at prevention of cancer such as increasing awareness on cancer through various media platforms, regular cancer campaigns, and affordable screening and treatment options.
1. World Cancer Report 2014