T he issue of breast cancer among other diseases that kill women is becoming a thing of concern as many women die yearly from this sickness. Advances in screening and treatment for breast cancer have improved survival rates dramatically. Overall the rate was said to have declined by about 40% between 1989 and 2017. Of course, the first symptom of breast cancer is usually an area of thickened tissue in the breast or a lump in the breast on an armpit, a rash around one nipple. A discharge from a nipple, which may contain blood or a sunken/inverted nipple.
A change in the size or shape of the breast, peeling or flaking or scaling of the skin of the breast or nipple. “It is also said that breast cancer develops as a result of general mutilation or damage to the DNA. As a result, cells within the breast tissue begin to multiply uncontrollably and they do not die as usual.
This excessive cell growth forms a tumour that deprives surrounding cells of nutrients and energy. Sadly while many diseases that afflict humans have a cure for them, however, the cure for cancer is yet to be discovered. That has been a major challenge to especially the women of child bearing age. It is very difficult to handle it considering the ignorant level of the women especially those at the rural communities who take wrong treatment when they have the problem misinterpreting it to be another thing.
Ironically the government nowadays has other things to think about so the issue of breast and other issues of cancer may be the least on their minds now. But the Ondo State’s First Lady, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, being a cancer survivor herself has taken the burden of at least sensitizing Nigeria women that there is still life at the end of the tunnel is the reason why she recently brought her awareness campaign to Bayelsa State.
Leaving her mansion at the Ondo Government House in Akure, the First Lady risked all, including the insecurity in the country, to come and sensitize Bayelsa women on the need to know that early detection of the disease helps a lot. Stating that creating awareness about cancer is everybody’s business, Akeredolu urged all to join hands to see cancer control as everybody’s business, maintaining that all should put hands to kick the disease out of the country. Speaking recently in Yenagoa during an awarenesswalktagged‘jogforlife’, Akeredolu insisted that people do not have to lay everythingatthedoorstepsof thegovernmenttodo.
MaintainingthatNigeriansshouldbeginto be their brother’s keepers, she, however, urged women to always conduct regular checks on theirbreaststopreventthehighrateof mortalityassociatedwithbreastcancerinthecountry. The Ondo First Lady, who is a founder of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), said she has survived breast can cer after being diagnosed in 1997. She revealed that people die of the disease due to ignorance, silence and fear of stigmatization, adding that she had to come out and tell Nigerians that women can survive breast cancer and live productive lives. Akeredolu said: “Cancer has killed so many women and we are concerned. We are weeping and we cannot continue to watch our women die. “Young women with small children are dying. That is why we are here to create the necessary awareness. It is the awareness that will make us survive. Awareness leads to action. But you must do the right thing or take the right steps at the right time. “Breast cancer is not as deadly anymore as women think since early detection and prompt medical attention can cure the disease thereby reducing the rate of mortality.
“I have survived breast cancer. Awareness leads to action and we don’t want the awareness to die. “One important step is that you have to check your breasts. If you notice anything there that was not there before like a lump or discharge from the nipple, run to the hospital. “Don’t go to the mountain to pray for 40 days and nights because as you are praying, the cancer will be multiplying. “We can’t get tired of talking to women about what they should do.
They should check their breasts and carry out breast examinations regularly. Doing this gives them the power to detect anything that has gone wrong with the breast and like I said early detection is key to surviving the illness.” She disclosed that: “One of the objectives of the breast cancer association is to raise funds for cancer patients.” Adding that: “We know that the cost of treatment is extremely high for an average Nigerian not to talk of our poor women so the need had arisen for everyone to see the control of breast cancer as everybody’s business. “We don’t have to lay everything at the door steps of the government. Government has its own role to perform which is the provision of facilities. “Nigerians should begin to be their brothers and sisters’ keeper. Even in the US, you have NGOs supporting victims of breast cancer therefore all of us can chip in.
“As we have come here to establish the BRECAN Bayelsa State chapter, this is an opportunity to contact them and tell them if they notice anything in their breasts, they should go to hospital.” Also speaking, the First Lady of Bayelsa State, Mrs. Gloria Diri promised to key into the sensitization campaign to ensure that women from the communities in the state are properly informed. Stating that Bayelsa women were strong women, Diri said: “I’m here today to support BRECAN. With my foundation, we are saying that cancer doesn’t have any potion in Bayelsa State. “We will kick out cancer from Bayelsa state. So if you notice any lump in your breast or something like water or blood, don’t go to any native doctor or ‘babalawo’. There are many but they cannot treat cancer.
“Just rush to the FMC (Federal Medical Centre) or any hospital that they can treat it. “If you notice it early enough it can be treated early. All of you that are already noticing the system, please rush to hospital and if you are already diagnosed, please don’t be discouraged because you will live. “I know that the best way to fight the sickness is by awareness because if they are aware, they will run fast to use the provisions that are made available for them and that is the hospital facilities.
“Because for now, most people don’t understand what is happening, they think that it is boiling and they will feel that a bad hand has entered but if they get to know that there is one common cause, they seek help on time. “This has been my passion as a health practitioner, we see these cases and in the process of giving treatment, some die and she may be the breadwinner of the family or mother of many children.” Addressing the Ondo State First Lady, Mrs. Diri said: “Today you have triggered something in me. I assure my dear Bayelsans our mothers and sisters of our land that we will not die of breast cancer again. “Early detection is the key.
I’m going to see what I can do to take BRECAN to all the nooks and crannies of Bayelsa State so that at the end, it will be kicked out of the state.” Also Mrs. Kate Abiri, the Chief Judge of the state, said that the fear of being diagnosed of breast cancer has made many women not go to hospital. Abiri said “The state the fear of being diagnosed with breast cancer has made so many people not go to hospital. “Some use native treatment. Some women take supplements to suppress the disease. “Whilethose supplements aregood, itis still good to visit experts.
Some people are afraid of cutting their breast(s); but is it not better that they cut your breast and you remain alive? “Whenever you are ready, I will call my women and you tell them because the more we are aware, the more it will be beneficial to the state.”
The secretary of BRECAN Bayelsa State Chapter, Abisoye Oyeyemi in her remarks said: “I bring greetings from the Bayelsa chapter of the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN).” Thanking the participants, she continued: “We sincerely thank you for attending the maiden edition of jog for life and/ or the inauguration of our chapter. “You can’t imagine the kind of requests and cases that have come to our notice in just one week of our official existence.
“This underscores the huge challenge ahead of us. But we know with you working with us and supporting us in the fight against breast and cervical cancers, we will be able to help as many persons and families as possible to survive both cancers and their devastating effects. “The inspiring story of our founder’s victory continues to remind us that it is doable. “We intend to use the platform of BRECAN to advocate for better cancer care and a strong cancer control programme in Bayelsa State. “Our next major activity is to join the world tocommemorateWorldCancerDayonFriday February 4, 2022. Please join us to spread the message of hope and help to save lives.”