Archives for May2013




Globally every 20 seconds a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and every one minute a woman dies from breast cancer. Recent data by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows that one (1) woman is diagnosed of breast cancer every 20 minutes in Nigeria and about 40 Nigerian women (someone’s wife, mother, sister, aunt, niece, and cousin) die of breast cancer daily compared to 30 women daily in the 2010 report.  dies every day from breast cancer. Quite alarming, isn’t it? (Don’t we need to do something about this?) It therefore, makes sense to assume that breast cancer is a ladies’ disease. But is that really true? No, this belief is a myth.

Recently, a young man came to see me in the NCPP Surulere office; he was visibly agitated and anxious. When asked what the problem was, he confessed that his father had just died from breast cancer. Afraid that he too might also end up with breast cancer, he wanted to undergo screening.

Now to the statistics! 1% (one out of every 100) cases of breast cancer occur in men, globally. In India, it is as high as 5% (5 out of 100). Most cases of male breast cancer are detected in men between the ages of 60 and 70, although the condition can develop in men of any age. A man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about one in 1,000. What is more worrisome about breast cancer in men is the fact that most men seek medical attention very late. This is because men are less likely to be suspicious of an abnormality in that area. In addition, their small amount of breast tissue is harder to feel — making it more difficult to catch these cancers early, and allowing tumors to spread more quickly to the surrounding tissues. In addition, men do not agree easily for surgery as they believe that breast cancer is a “ladies illness” and cannot affect them.

This was exemplified in the case of a US cancer researcher, Dr. Oliver Bogler who developed breast cancer 5 years after his wife who is now cancer-free. Oliver and his wife Irene are both cancer researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. Irene, now 52, first had cancer in 2007, when she was 46, and they had two children under the age of seven at the time. Oliver, now 46 years old, is now undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

His quote: “I am probably not going to die of this in the next five or 10 years, I have to tell you, it would have been better to go to the doctor sooner but I couldn’t imagine this happening twice in our family. Having a wife who had breast cancer, I thought it would be weird saying I had it too.”

So, the biggest hurdle in the fight against breast cancer in men is awareness and acceptance which is the essence of this literature.

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Men can develop breast cancer, but it is about 100 times more common among women than men. This is probably because men have less of the female hormones (chemicals) estrogen and progesterone, which can promote breast cancer cell growth. the symbolic colour of breast cancer in men is pink and blue.

Richard Rountree

Richard Rountree, an American celebrity is another proof that breast cancer affects men, too. Rountree was diagnosed in 1993, had a radical mastectomy and rounds of chemotherapy and survived.
What are the signs of breast cancer in men?

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The signs of male breast cancer are similar to those in women. These include a swelling, nodule or lump on chest or in armpit, skin dimpling or puckering, nipple retraction (nipple that is pulled into the breast), sore, redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin and nipple discharge.

What are the risk factors of breast cancer in men?

As with female breast cancer, many of these factors are related to sex hormone (chemicals produced by the sex organs) levels in the body. These include:


The risk of breast cancer goes up as a man ages. Men with breast cancer are on average about 68 years old in the western world and 46 years old in India, when they are diagnosed.

Family history of breast cancer

Breast cancer risk is increased if other members of the family (blood relatives) have had breast cancer. About 1 out of 5 men with breast cancer have close male or female relatives with the disease. The risk also increases if the women were diagnosed at a young age (below 40).

Inherited gene mutations

Men can inherit faulty genes that can cause breast cancer. Between 10 and 20 out of every 100 diagnosed in men are due to inherited faulty genes. In men with breast cancer the BRCA2 faulty gene is more common than BRCA1.


Heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages increases the risk of breast cancer in men. This may be because of its effects on the liver (see below).

Liver disease

The liver makes binding proteins that affect the hormones’ activity. Men with severe liver disease such as cirrhosis have relatively low levels of androgens and higher estrogen levels. They have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Estrogen treatment

Estrogen-related drugs were once used in hormonal treatment for men with prostate cancer. This treatment may slightly increase breast cancer risk.

Transgender/transsexual individuals (one who has undergone a sex change) who take high doses of estrogens as part of a sex reassignment may also have a higher breast cancer risk.


Recent studies have shown that women’s breast cancer risk is increased by obesity (being extremely overweight) during her adult life. Obesity is probably a risk factor for male breast cancer as well. The reason is that fat cells in the body convert male hormones (androgens) into female hormones (estrogens). This means that grossly overweight men have higher levels of estrogens in their body. Some obese men may notice that they don’t have to shave as frequently as other men. They might also have trouble fathering children. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as that of many other diseases and cancers.

Testicular conditions

Some studies have suggested that certain conditions, such as having an undescended testicle (balls), having mumps as an adult, or having one or both balls removed during operation (orchiectomy) may increase male breast cancer risk. Although the risk seems to be increased, overall it is still low.


An abnormal enlargement of breasts (called gynaecomastia) in response to drug or hormone treatments, or even some infections and poisons increases risk of male breast cancer.

Certain occupations

Some reports have suggested an increased risk in men who work in hot environments such as steel mills. This could be because being exposed to higher temperatures for long periods of time can affect the balls, which in turn would affect hormone levels. Men heavily exposed to gasoline fumes might also have a higher risk. More research is needed to confirm these findings.


Take Home Lesson One: Men should be aware that breast cancer can occur in men, pay close attention to their breast and report any abnormality promptly. Early detection is the key to increasing survival. In fact, if detected and treated in its earliest stages, 90% to 95% of breast cancer patients are cancer-free within 10 years. This drops to 40% once the cancer has advanced.

Take Home Lesson Two: Support the CECP-Nigeria initiative to acquire Mobile Cancer Centres to ensure that every Nigerian can have equal opportunity to get screened.

Let’s ACT! (Attack Cancer Together!) Text Cancer to 44777 today and every day!



© 2013 Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria)

Recent data by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows that one (1) woman is diagnosed of breast cancer every 20 minutes in Nigeria and about 40 Nigerian women die of breast cancer daily compared to 30 women daily in the 2010 report.




BY DR ABIA NZELU, Secretary, Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria)
(Presented @ coolwazobiainfo on Friday 17th of May, 2013)

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What is the relationship between cancer and sex?
Did you know that your sexual behaviour can affect your risk of cancer? Research has revealed that infection with microorganisms (germs) is an important cause of some cancers. Worldwide, more than 1 out of 8 of the new cancer cases in 2008, making about 2 million affected people, were caused by infections. In less-developed countries like Nigeria the rate of cancer due to infection is even higher (1 out of 4).

In addition, cancers related to infection have high death rates, and it is estimated that up to 1 in 5 cancer deaths, i.e. 1.5 million deaths, in 2008 were caused by infections.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), there are 10 microorganisms (germs) that have the highest cancer-risk. These include Human papillomavirus (HPV)- see below; Hepatitis B virus (HBV) (causes liver cancer which affects 9000 Nigerians every year out of which 8900 die); Hepatitis C virus (HCV) (also causes liver cancer); Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) (causes cancer of the lymph nodes which kills one Nigerian every 2 hours); human T cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) (causes blood cancer which kills 7 Nigerians every day); Helicobacter pylori (causes stomach cancer which kills 5 Nigerians every day); human herpes virus type 8 (HHV-8; also known as Kaposi’s sarcoma herpes virus); the parasitic liver flukes (liver cancer); and the parasite Schistosoma haematobium (bladder cancer). Most of these organisms are sexually transmitted.

Today, we will focus on the most important of these i.e. the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

What is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?
It is a virus which can infect the genital areas (private parts) of both men and women. It usually has no signs or symptoms. Most of the time, HPV goes away by itself within years and does not cause health problems.

Why does HPV go away on its own in some people and not in all cases?
It is thought that the immune system fights off HPV naturally. It is only when HPV remains in the cells for many years that it can cause cancer.

How common is HPV?
It is most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the world, infecting 630m (cf. HIV= 40m).

What are the different types of HPV?
There are many subtypes but the most important are type 16 &18 which cause cancers; 6 &11 cause genital warts & RRP in children.

How could I get HPV?
HPV is passed on through genital or skin-to-skin contact, most often during vaginal or anal sex. Transmission is not reliably prevented by condom use because the virus can be transmitted by intimate skin-to-skin contact.

What can HPV do to my body?
HPV can infect the genital areas in different ways: Some HPV types can cause changes that can lead to cancer over time. Other HPV types can cause changes that lead to genital warts in men and women.

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HPV is the root cause of more than 1 out of 20 cases of cancers, including all cervical cancers (which kills one woman every hour in Nigeria) and a substantial percentage of cancers at other sites such as external private parts of males and females (vagina, Vulva, penis, scrotum, perineum), anus, head/neck, mouth, throat, nose, tonsil, skin, nail-bed and conjunctiva (eye).


Can HPV affect children?
Yes. It can be transmitted from a mother to her child during childbirth and can lead to Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP) (asthma-like condition) which can cause the death of the innocent child.

What are the Risk Factors?
The risk factors are mostly related to sexual behaviors. These include:
- A high number of lifetime sex partners (oral, anal, and/or vaginal)- higher among those with more than 20 sex partners (however, a woman may get infected from her first intercourse)
- Early age (≤19 years) at first intercourse, and
- Smoking- higher among those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes daily
- Poor genital hygiene

How can I prevent HPV infection and consequences?
Join Dr Abia on Friday 24th of May @ coolwazobiainfo for details


© 2013 Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria)

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Five (5) years ago, precisely on the 24th of May, 2008, we lost one of the giants of contemporary Nigerian music and renowned freedom fighter, Evangelist Sonny Okosun (died of Colon Cancer). May his soul rest in peace.

His Quote (from an interview on January 11, 2008): “what is the use of the Order of the Niger Awards (OON) bestowed on me by government if it can’t be translated into cash? And where are all those Nigerians who I thought were my friends? Where are all those governors who gave me red carpet treatment when I sang at their parties?”

His Experience:

Sonny Okosuns: his life, his music, his struggles

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Oziddi sound maestro, Evangelist Sonny Okosuns, who died on Saturday, made his name in music which he used to further causes he believed in. Ozolua Uhakheme,  Assistant Editor, Arts, writes on this man of many parts

The story of apartheid struggle in Africa, especially in South Africa, will be incomplete without the activism, through music, of Oziddi sound maestro, Evangelist Sonny Okosuns who passed on at 61 on Saturday at Howard Hospital, Washington DC, the United States.

Okosuns who spent over 35 years on stage as a musician and as an activist, made one of his last public appearances at a high-life party in celebration of his 60th birthday at the Ojez Restaurant, National Stadium Surulere, Lagos. The event was organised by Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA).

Okosuns who had won over 30 awards and performed in international and local musical concerts was the first Nigerian musician to win the EMI gold awards in 1974. He won 15 gold discs and five platinum discs from sale of records. During the June 12 crisis, Okosuns was among front-line artistes who supported the cause with all they had- music. He was acknowledged as the only musician who accompanied the late Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola on a nationwide campaign, without charging any fees for his services. And when Abiola died, he wept for hours at his tomb, playing his guitar and singing dirge for a departed friend and mentor.

Like some of his contemporaries, Okosuns embraced gospel songs and founded a church, House of Prayers, at his Ogba residence in Lagos where he used music to praise and sing for the Lord. Among his gospel hits were ‘Song of Praise 1 and 11’, ‘Great Change’, ‘Revival’, and ‘Save Our Soul’.

But he hit the limelight when he released ‘Ozziddi for Sale’, ‘Papa’s Land’ and ‘Fire in Soweto’, his three albums that recorded the highest sale. Okosuns, in his heyday, performed with great musicians such as Eddy Grant, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Harry Bellafonte, Sunny Ade and Victor Uwaifo.

His passion for freedom and justice was never restricted to Nigeria as he used his music to spread the campaign and struggle for independence and majority rule in apartheid South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia, among others. His records, including ‘Papa’s Land’, ‘Fire in Soweto’ and ‘Holy Wars are among his major hits dedicated to the struggle against apartheid. In appreciation of his support for the struggle against apartheid, he was invited to perform in international concerts in Europe and America. The concerts he participated in include Music against Apartheid in Toronto and Philadelphia in 1985, Soweto Day at New York Park in 1986, Zimbabwe Independence Party in 1987, Nelson Mandela Welcome Concert in 1980 and Reconciliation Concert in Freetown in 2004.

Besides, he had command performances for some great world leaders, including Fidel Castro of Cuba, Moamar Ghadaffi of Libya, Ahmed Ahidjo of Cameroon, Abdou Diouf of Senegal, Joseph Momoh of Sierra Leone, Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, Mathew Kerekou of Benin, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Thomas Sankara of Burkina Fasso and Olusegun Obasanjo.

Okosuns who hailed from Edo State started his first band, the Postmen, in 1964. He served several years in the group of Victor Uwaifo before launching Paperback Limited, which he later renamed Ozziddi in 1972.

Ozziddi’s first few releases, with their catchy, rock-inflected melody and topical lyrics, were all big hits in Nigeria. But 1977’s “Fire in Soweto” brought Okosuns international recognition. Further attention came in the early 80s with the release of ‘Liberation’ on the American Shanachie label. Okosuns’ supposed “controversial” lyrics in the 1970s and 1980s about South Africa and the plight of the Third World were not at all radical in the African context. In this regard it is interesting to compare Okosuns’ career with that of the late Anikulapo-Kuti, who faced hardship as a result of his pointed attacks on the Nigerian elite.

Although Okosuns’career witnessed a downturn in the late 1980s, he bounced back in 1994 with “Songs of Praise,” which won some Nigerian music awards. Since then, “Evangelist Sonny Okosuns” had through evangelism become the country’s foremost gospel musician, with a growing fan base in other parts of the world.

But while still riding on the crest of the success of his gospel songs that cleared all the gospel music awards in 1995 at all music awards held in Nigeria, Okosuns who was fondly referred to as Papa by his flocks at House Of Prayer’s followers, suddenly began to lose weight. The chubby and stocky Ozzidi king emaciated so much that his state of health became a source of worry to his fans and journalists, especially those from the genre commonly referred to as junk journalists. Some of them were so worried by his lean that they insinuated that he might have contacted HIV/AIDS. While his fans and journalists worried themselves sick over his state of health, Okosuns wasn’t bothered. Instead, like the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who at the early stage of the illness that took his life told his fans that he was only experiencing skin regeneration which at the end would make him fresh as a baby, Okosuns blamed his loss of weight on a diet drug prescribed for him by his doctors. Perhaps, unknown to him, he had just started his journey with a terminal disease, cancer of the colon.

But while he told the world that he was on diet, he confided in some family members that he was indeed suffering from diabetes. So, he sought cure from the numerous charlatans who lay claim on national television and radio stations that they are trado-medical practitioners with herbal drugs that can cure all ailment, even AIDS. They supplied him with all sorts of concoction, all in the name of curing the ‘diabetes.’ And he took all the drugs.

It was, however, not until last year that it was made known that the ailment which has reduced the freedom fighter, the musician that gave the world songs like Orimolade, Holy War, Fire In Soweto, African Soldier, Wind Of Change, Ozzidi For Sale, Which Way Nigeria and Mother and Child, the man that brought Mandela and his fellow freedom fighters in ANC struggle against Apartheid to the consciousness of the ordinary Nigerians, the man who gave the music world the likes of Onyeka Onwenu, Yvonne Maha, to a mere ‘bag of bones.’

It was however in one of his trips to America for performance cum medical check-up that doctors reportedly told him that he had cancer of the colon. Okosuns in his stoic belief in God was said to have told the doctors “I reject it Jesus name,” not knowing that the ailment had eaten deep to his body.

Before he was finally diagnosed of cancer of the colon, he had started experiencing difficulty in his feeding habit. He could no longer eat his favourite African dish like pounded yam, a special delicacy which his surviving wife, Omono (his first wife, Nkechi, died about a decade ago) served him with ogbono soup in a handy clay pot. In the midst of all this and probably because of his abiding faith that he would triumph over it, he not only kept it secret but reacted angrily to our reporter when he broke the news that he was down with cancer.

Early this year, while on his way to the US for medical treatment, it was reported that he queried the worth of the national honour conferred on him.

He disclosed that he was travelling to the US from where he would go to India for treatment.

He said: “As soon as I get back to America, I will leave for India where I hope to seek further medical assistance for my failing health. Although I’m feeling okay already, I don’t want to take chances, for it has taken my faith in God and the efforts of doctors in America to have gotten me this far.

“I give praises to God Almighty who brought a man in the person of an Indian, called Patrick Fernandez, into my life. This man who God showed to me in Port Harcourt volunteered to take care of all my medical expenses in a hospital in Bombay, India.

“Mr. Fernandez’s gesture brought tears to my eyes and I asked: what is the use of the Order of the Niger Awards (OON) bestowed on me by government if it can’t be translated into cash? And where are all those Nigerians who I thought were my friends? Where are all those governors who gave me red carpet treatment when I sang at their parties?”

When asked of what becomes of his congregation during his treatment, Okosuns said: “Nobody owns the church and neither is the church mine. The church belongs to God and anybody who says it is my church is a liar. That shows that whether I’m there or not, God is in control. Since I left, the church has remained intact. God is my survival and He has been taking good care of me and that is why I say from everlasting to everlasting God is God. When you are honest and righteous and you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit will direct you in everything you do.

So it’s a miracle that I’m living today and I have no regrets in anything I’d done in the past. God is taking care of me, he is a wonderful father.”



This great man, died 5 years ago from colon cancer at the age of 61 because of late detection.

Colon cancer is one of the cancers that are highly preventable because it starts as a polyp which may eventually progress to cancer after many years if not detected. The polyp can be picked up during colonoscopy and clipped off, thereby preventing the person from going on to have cancer. Colonoscopy is recommended once in 10-years from the age of 50 in the western world, where the peak age of developing colon cancer is 70.

However, the peak age of developing cancer in our environment is 44. This implies that we ought to start our colon cancer screening from the age of 30. Now, how many health facilities in Nigeria have a colonoscope ? How many people can afford colonoscopy in Nigeria?

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If Evangelist Sonny Okosuns had access to colonoscopy, he will probably still be alive today. He would have been 66 years old now. The outcome would have been like that of the case of the Queen mother (of England) who had her colon cancer (polyp) picked up at the age of 66 and then lived until the age of 102 when she died (not from colon cancer of course!). Pope John Paul II also survived colon cancer. Why should our experience in Nigeria be different?

Where you live should not determine whether you live, or whether you die.” ― Bono

Nigeria Let’s join hands with the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria) to acquire Mobile Cancer Centres (MCCs) in Nigeria. This will facilitate Nation-wide cancer screening at the grassroots. As you know, 10 precious Nigerians die every hour from cancer, most of which are preventable with early detection.

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Let’s ACT! Attack Cancer Together!! Text CANCER to 44777 everyday and tell others to do the same or donate on-line or via ATM using the code, 777526.



© 2013 Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria)