Isanlu (Kogi) July 12, 2022
An NGO, Dove-Haven Foundation (DHF) has organised a virtual symposium on Prevention Strategies and Coping Mechanism against Breast Cancer” targeted at sensitising and educating the people in rural areas.
In his opening remarks, Dr Ekundayo Samuel, the Executive Director of DHF, described the organisation as a not-for-profit, non-political and non-governmental organisation located at Isanlu, Yagba East L.G.A, Kogi State, Nigeria.
”Our programs are designed to raise cancer awareness and education in the society; provide easy access to cancer screening, diagnosis, management; and enhance the quality of life of cancer patients,” he said
He stated that Breast Cancer had taken over as the leading cancer type globally from Lung Cancer.
He stated that over 2.3 Million people currently are diagnosed with Breast Cancer and around 700, 000 people have died from it.
”That is why the organisation is clamoring for ways to help in preventing breast cancer and how cancer patients can cope,” Samuel said.
He acknowledged the support of Patela Care Foundation, and encouraged other bigger NGO’s to support DHF in any way they could.
In his lecture, Dr. Sesan Oluwasola, Consultant/Gynecologist, University College Hospital Ibadan, who spoke on ”Research perspective” of the topic, stressed that ‘prevention is better than cure’ as far as cancer management was concerned.
He explained that breast cancer has highest prevalence in Nigerian women followed by Cervical cancer, adding that both cancers if detected early could achieve hundred percent cure.
He noted that breast cancer was very high in developed countries but with low mortality rate, while in developing countries like Nigeria breast cancer lower but with high mortality rate.
This, he said was as a result of inadequate measures and access to cancer health care facilities.
The medical expert advised women to be careful to take every precautionary measure either to prevent or to detect breast and cervical cancers early.
According to him, when it comes to breast and cervical cancers, being a woman is a risk factor and woman without family history and other high risk can still be infected with breast cancer.
Also speaking, Dr. Foluke Sarimiye, Co-founder/Executive Director, Patela Care Foundation, who spoke on ”Psychological issues and Coping Mechanism”, said every cancer has psychological issues associated with it like anxiety and depression.
Sarimiye, who is a Consultant in Clinical Oncology and Lecturer at University of Ibadan, noted that Breast represent a symbol of Feminism in women, saying, ”it takes a lot of courage, strength, psychotherapy and support especially from spouse for a lady to have a breast cancer surgery.
She added that knowledge was key in the aspect of coping mechanism of breast cancer, as it involved knowing when to have routine mammogram for women above 40 years, health system available to each economic constraint and know more about the disease.
On his part, Mr Runcie Chidebe, Executive Director, Project Pink Blue, said Nigerians were battling with cancer after undergoing treatment because of inadequate cancer research data in the country.
Another speaker, Mrs. Adedayo Olusayo, a cancer survivor who shared her experience, said she was depressed as a widow because there was no money, but her doctor encouraged her and she was able to get support.
Olusayo said she had her surgery, followed by Chemotherapy and then Radiation therapy, adding that she was able to go through all these through her family and relatives’ support as well as support from her religious institution.
She encouraged cancer patients to speak up and not be afraid of any stigma as it is a matter of life and death.
She stressed that diagnosing and treating breast cancer early give a higher chance of survival.
He said it was very challenging for patients to access cancer treatments and care because most of the processes available were not affordable to the masses which remained the major problem of cancer care in Nigeria.
Other speakers who spoke at the event were: Mrs. Eniola Akintunde, Executive Director Niola Cancer Care Foundation; and Dr. Ishak Lawal – Technical Advisor Dove-Haven Foundation (DHF).
The speakers advised the government and cancer NGOs to work together so that Nigeria could have own cancer research data, stressing that the country could not continue to rely on data gotten from other countries.
They enjoined cancer patients to listen to their doctors in order to cope with the disease, while urging doctors to have cordial relationship with their patients.
The speakers also encouraged every stakeholder to come together to promote cancer prevention strategies, and be an advocate at religious centres, working places and mostly on social media.