The Gombe State Commissioner of Health, Dr Kennedy Ishaya, has raised an alarm over the rising cases of cancer of the liver in the state, describing the development as worrisome.
The commissioner told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Friday that based on the information gathered from public and private hospitals across the state, at least a death associated with cancer of the liver occurred every week.
Ishaya said that the information also revealed that no age group was exempted from the affliction, as the disease incidence cut across all ages, sexes and social classes.
He said that the Ministry of Health was now working assiduously to ascertain the causes of the illness, as well as its preventive measures.
He said that the ministry had inaugurated a food security unit, which would collaborate with the state Ministry of Agriculture to examine the types of food preservatives, artificial ripeners, sweeteners and chemicals used for crop processing.
“This is with a view to ascertaining their metabolism in the body and knowing if they are capable of inducing liver diseases, including cancer of the liver,’’ he said.
Besides, the commissioner said that the state government had also released funds to immunise the citizens against hepatitis, especially health workers and food vendors who were more vulnerable since it was an infectious disease.
“The whole concept is that if you have hepatitis viruses in your system, they may remain quiet; they may become active and even lead to the development of cancer of the liver,’’ he said.
Ishaya, nonetheless, appealed to health facilities across the state to expand their clinical investigations to find out the localities of cancer of the liver patients as well as the kinds of chemicals they used for spraying their farms or preserving their crops.
He said that the investigations would further enrich their knowledge on how to tackle the growing menace of cancer of the liver in Gombe State in a pragmatic way.
He also appealed to intending couples to go for hepatitis screening before getting married.