As the cases of breast and cervical cancer continue to rise in the country, the need for regular check up has been reiterated, for the purpose of early detection for the right treatment.
The Executive Director, CancerAware Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation, based in Lagos, Tolulope Falowo, who said this at the weekend in a statement, to mark the World Breast Cancer Awareness month, lamented that most of the cases in hospitals are at the advanced stage.
While noting that breast cancer is not a death sentence, Falowo said regular check-up is very important for early detection. “Women should check their breasts regularly. And if you see anything unusual, go to the hospital immediately.
If you are not satisfied with a particular hospital/clinic, get a second opinion. There is a huge disparity in the area of cancer care in Nigeria. Indigent and low-income individuals facing a cancer diagnosis in the country usually do not have good outcomes.
“There are several reasons for this, which include poverty, ignorance, cultural beliefs, inadequate referral systems, inadequate diagnosis, fear of diagnosis, ill-trained health workers, lack of national cancer screening programmes and a dearth of well-equipped treatment centres, among others.
“Also, there is no national cancer screening programme to help with prevention and early detection of such common cancers as breast and cervical cancer. There are inadequate funding resources available to help patients with the huge costs of cancer treatment. So, many people are left on their own with no succour.”
She explained that all hands must be on deck to reduce the incidence and fatalities from cancer in the country, as the ailment does not discriminate.
“We must be aware of the risk factors for common cancers. The awareness and information drive must reach every nook and cranny of the country. But it must not end at just awareness level, action must follow. Women must do regular breast checks monthly and yearly. Women aged 40 and above should have mammogram screening every year. If there is a history of breast cancer in the family, you should speak to your doctor about starting personalised breast cancer screening earlier,” Falowo said.