Lifestyles and cancer risk: the case of Kwara State, Nigeria
The objective was to establish the level of public awareness of cancer risk factors and to conceptualize public programs with activities that could bring behavioural change towards involvement with the causes of cancer. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 117 people that include pupils, students and teachers in selected primary and secondary schools in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara state, Nigeria. The focus was on alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, infections such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human papillomavirus and exposure to ionizing radiation and environmental pollutants. Descriptive statistics was used to describe the distribution of all variables. Poor awareness about risk factors associated with cancer was observed, with 12.8%-54.7% of our respondents not knowing at least one of the cancer risk factors investigated. Public health professionals, policy makers, media, stakeholders and the public should play a major role to ensure everyone have the most up-to-date information on how to minimise the risk of developing the disease. Anticancer clubs and societies should be formed in primary and secondary schools with the singular purpose of creating awareness of cancer risk factors through poems, drama, songs, slogans, posters/stickers and picturesque.
Keywords: Cancer, Risk factors, Behavioural changes, Policy Makers