By Onyeukwu-Rowland Iheloghara
In her commitment to bringing breast cancer awareness to the door step of every home in Nigeria, the founder of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) who is also the wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has mobilized BRECAN members of Oyo state chapter as foot soldiers and charged them with the task of eliminating breast cancer as a life threatening disease in Nigeria through public education , patient support, advocacy and research in that part of the country.
Addressing fellow BRECANITES during the investiture of the executives and 50 million naira fund raising ceremony at Ibadan, Oyo state, the Sunshine State First Lady mandated them to educate Nigerian women about the disease so they could become more knowledgeable and know that they could survive breast cancer if anyone was diagnosed.
“Go and educate our women about this disease so that they become more knowledgeable and know you can survive breast cancer, and if you do the right thing at the right time, breast cancer is not a death sentence otherwise I wouldn’t be standing before you today. Breast cancer is not spiritual attack neither is it juju. In summary we can defeat breast cancer, Yes, we can !” she emphasized.
She also advised the foot soldiers to make conscious effort to break some of the barriers they would meet while discharging their duties, particularly the attitude of some Nigerian women on paying attention to vital health information.
Delivering her lecture titled : Breast health awareness: the entry point to fight cancer, the guest speaker Dr Adenike Adeniji-Sofoluwe of the department of Radiology, Breast Imaging Unit, University College Hospital, Ibadan, said “ Breast cancer is a non communicable disease that has global impact with the incident rate increasing from 25 million women at risk to 40 million women between 1992-2010 and is projected to reach 50 million women in 2020, stressing that we have a lot to do to fight the scourge”.
Dr Adenike who is also a Masters degree holder ( Genomes) from the University of Nottingham further revealed that breast cancer had a high incidence rate in continents of North America, part of South America, Australia and Europe and expressed displeasure that Nigeria which had relatively low incidence rate had about the highest mortality rate across the globe, she blamed it on the health seeking behavior of Nigeria women and Government negligence.
She also called on stakeholders in the county to intervene through provision of free screening services and other patient support programmes to reduce the mortality rate.
In her speech, the chairperson of BRECAN Oyo State Chapter, Chief Mrs Bose Osunmakinwa who spoke through the Vice Chairperson, Princess Aderonke Adeyemi said “ BRECAN is committed to active campaign against breast cancer and our task as Oyo State foot soldiers is to make it possible in our territory through awareness outreach and patient support”.
She assured the Founder that they would live up to her expectations.