‘How to survive breast cancer’
*Group seeks awareness on increasing cases in Nigeria
Medical experts, stakeholders and breast cancer survivors have given tips on how to survive the chronic disease.
The experts at a three-day conference put together for survivors in Lagos by Skye Bank PLC, in conjunction with its partner, Care, Organisation and Public Enlightenment (C.O.PE), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), drew public attention to the menace of breast cancer.
Also, as part of its effort to boost awareness on the ever-growing cases of cancer globally, COPE marked this year’s breast cancer awareness month to celebrate survivors of the scourge and educate the general populace on how to manage and prevent the ailment.
Guest lecturer and consultant oncologist at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Nsukka, Enugu Campus, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, who spoke on the “Role of imaging in breast cancer screening, diagnosis and management” disclosed that the cancer scourge is real but not a death sentence, urging Nigerians, especially people of faith not to live in denial of this reality.
The Professor emphasized that, “What we should concern ourselves with, is to take the issue of our health seriously, do regular check up; watch our lifestyle, our eating habits and engage in constant and consistent physical exercise.”
“Early detection is crucial for effective management and treatment. There is also the need to give support to cancer patients and the need for us to move away from the myth that cancer is contagious. It is nothing but a fallacy,” the Professor of Radiology in College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Nsukka, added.
President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of COPE, Mrs. Ebunola Anozie, at its 2016 breast cancer survivors’ conference tagged “against all odd”, held in Lagos, said: “Many who have walked the cancer journey and survived it will agree with me that this theme is very apart. October is recognised as breast cancer awareness month globally. There is a notion that cancer is a punishment from God and it is also a death sentence the truth is that cancer is a group of diseases. It occurs when the cells become abnormal and divide without control or order.
“It is imperative to create the much needed awareness in order to catch breast cancer early because early detection and early treatment can save one’s life and breast.”
The Group Managing Director of Skye Bank, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, in a goodwill message to mark the breast cancer month, said, “there is need for a concerted effort by both government and public spirited organizations to fight the scourge of cancer in our society to a standstill.”
He described cancer as one of the leading causes of death worldwide, especially in developing economies where inadequate medical care and lack of awareness about the disease have combined to make it very deadly.
“Our commitment towards contributing to the fight against the high incidence of cancer, especially breast cancer in the country through our partner NGO, and under our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, is unwavering, adding that “we have demonstrated this again and again by our continued support through C.O.PE,” the bank chief said.
The Skye Bank boss, who was represented at the occasion by Mrs. Funmi Oketogun, Group Head Commercial Banking, said, “The bank has been collaborating with C.O.PE on a number of initiatives since the pact was initiated such as SEEK-A-CARE project, a long term relevant home care delivery service offered to breast cancer patients.
“In addition to this, the bank also established a Breast Cancer Information Service Center to serve as a databank where relevant and up-to-date information on breast cancer is made available as well as a help desk equipped with dedicated phone lines where patients could call to make enquiries,” she added.
“During our over a decade of partnership, Skye Bank has also helped to beef up capacity and skill of C.O.PE Foundation by sponsoring officers from the Foundation to UICC World Cancer Training and Conference in Australia.”
In her concluding remarks, Mrs. Oketogun said, “We are very proud to associate with C.O.PE and are optimistic that together, we can make significant contribution to fight the scourge to a standstill,” calling on other public spirited organisations and philanthropists not only to promote awareness about the disease but also to facilitate screening, early detection and effective care for those affected.
Earlier in her welcome address, Anozie lauded the bank for various interventions both materially, financially and otherwise especially at a time when nobody believed in the cause of sensitization and providing relevant information on the cancer scourge to those who need it.
Anozie listed the purchase and donation of an acre of land by the bank for the construction of a befitting cancer centre where people could access and seek information, care and possible treatment among other commendable assistance such as donation of 40KVA generating set to provide uninterrupted power supply for the cancer screening equipment.
The hugely attended conference attracted dignitaries from all walks of life; from the academia, government circles, diplomatic corps and well-meaning Nigerians. The event had over 100 people in attendance.
It would be recalled that the bank has sponsored over 30 indigent cancer patients for treatment in addition to providing free scanning programmes for over 10,000 women within and outside Lagos.