At a one day oral cancer training organized by Cleft and Facial Deformity Foundation, Abuja, under the theme: ‘The use of artificial intelligence in the early detection of oral cancer and oral potentially malignant disorders,’ the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated that there is an annual mortality rate of 764 Nigerians owing to oral cancer complications. Annually, there is a diagnosis of 1146 oral cancer cases. Amidst expression of concern, the Minister stated that many Nigerians are unaware of the deadly effect of oral cancer (Also known as Mouth Cancer).
Oral cancer is severe due to its easy ability to deface the face of its carrier. It causes inability to speak and eat, and has a very high mortality rate than many other kinds of cancer. To alleviate the effects of the cancer, the minister added that the Federal Ministry of Health is increasing its awareness campaign to sensitize citizens on the dangers of oral cancer. Also, the ministry has concluded plans to launch a policy that centers on oral health in November. By raising awareness, the ministry practices a preventive method.
The ministry is prepared to launch a policy on prevention.
Dr. Ehanire, speaking at the event through his ministry’s Director of the Dentistry Division, Dr. Gloria Uzoigwe, added that the ministry is currently training community health workers as there are very few health workers in communities. Residents in communities usually have to travel long distances to towns to see a dentist as there are none in their residences. In rural communities where oral cancer is more infamous, there are no dental experts. Community health workers are therefore trained to detect early symptoms of oral cancer and refer patients to hospitals for dental treatments.
In his keynote speech, the minister explained that the aim of the policy is to, through the ministry of health, focus on 50 percent of the population in rural communities and ensure presence of better experts in primary health care centers. The policy is also set to enhance a comprehensive center — which means presence of a dental clinic that comprises of dentists, hygienists, and therapists — in at least the three geopolitical zones of every Nigerian state.
Avoidance of tobacco and alcohol is necessary.
Convener of the oral cancer training, Dr. Seidu Bello, disclosed that artificial intelligence, through computers, can obtain information of a patient and predict with over 90 percent accuracy the possibility of a person to develop cancer in the next one decade. As a result, it becomes easy for medical practitioners to monitor such people and treat the oral cancer at its infancy before it fully develops. Early detection means the cancer is curable in a victim. Currently, Nigeria’s use of artificial intelligence is crude. It is efficient in various aspects of medicine and science.
Prof. Bukola Folashade Adeyemi, a Dentistry Professor at the University College Ibadan, revealed in her statement that despite the fact that oral cancer is not so prominent in Nigeria, over 50 percent of those diagnosed die annually. She added that early diagnosis is important to avoid established risk factors. The most common risk factors that cause oral cancer is tobacco and alcohol. They cause an altercation of how the human body reacts to reactive oxygen species. Avoidance of these things is equal to reduced risk of oral cancer.
Naked flame foods are dangerous & could cause oral cancer.
According to the Dentistry Professor, oral sex has association with carcinogenesis and should be avoided. Excessive consumption of foods made over open flames are also considered harmful, especially to individuals that have constant exposure to the flames. These foods include suya, roasted fish and other roasted foods made on naked flames. Moderation is advised during consumption of these kinds of food. Additionally, continuous infection is considered as another risk factor for oral cancer. Individuals are advised to visit the dentist at least once or twice a year.