- Nigeria lost Brilliant Chisom to Leukemia
Recalling the gory news of the death of a 17 year old best candidate for the WAEC 2019 Examination, Chisom Chukwuneke. Who died of Leukemia – blood cancer – after a prolonged diagnosis in South Africa.
Her father narrates how the ugly ailment started as a leg pain till it deteriorated to a critical case Nigeria’s health care could not handle.
“ It was just like a dream but the realities are crystal now. Just a pain on the leg that snowballed to a devastating episode, the battle started earnestly. I hear you call, ‘daddy my leg is paining me’. I watch as you lie abed with pain,” her father, Prof. Felix Chukwuneke wrote in his tribute to his daughter.
“As restless and worried as I can be, I promised to do everything humanly possible. With glaring poor health care in Nigeria, off we went to South Africa. We were happy at your initial recovery not knowing the war was just to begin.”
This gory news has called for the need to investigate the risk factor of the cancer.
What is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a major type of cancer that affects the blood-forming tissue in the body. It is a cancer that makes the bone marrow in the body produce dysfunctional white blood cell. “An estimated 300,000 new cases of leukemia (2.8% of all new cancer cases) are diagnosed each year globally,” MedScape reported.
Why do Nigerians Risk Leukemia Cancer?
The answer simply is due to our high exposure to certain chemical in our environment.
A major chemical that causes some kind of leukemia is known as Benzene. It is a colourless, flammable liquid with a sweet odour. Benzene is used in industries that produces rubber, refine oil, chemical plants, gasoline, detergents, to mention but a few.
According to a report by Cancer.org international organisations such as International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), National Toxicology Program (NTP), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in different researches concluded that Benzene is carcinogenic to human.
Due to Nigerians high exposure to Benzene in both rural and urban regions through the consumption of the chemical by inhaling gasoline fumes, exhaustion from automobile and factories. It is inarguable that many are at risk of leukemia.
Today, Nigerians suffers from air pollution and poor industrial waste management IQAIR reports that Nigeria ranks 39th on the list of most polluted country by air. This progressing rate calls for drastic attention in order to reduce the risk of blood cancer in the country.
Cumulatively, leukemia is one of the fast growing cancer today, hence, calling for drastic attention by all sectors. Nigeria cannot afford to carelessly lose another brilliant Chisom Chukwuneke again!