The Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has promised to make available in no distant time a Cancer Treatment Centre in Ondo State. He made the declaration while speaking at the launching and investiture of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) Ondo State Chapter held in Akure, the state capital at an event graced by top government functionaries within and outside Ondo State, Royal Fathers, Medical Groups, Non-Governmental Organizations, Women Led Associations, BRECAN members among others.
Akeredolu who admitted that his government is encouraged to do the needful, lauded members of BRECAN, Ondo State chapter for their commitment to the cause of eradicating the scourge of breast cancer in the state. His words: “When I saw the membership, I was encouraged. People are committed around here – every other person wants a leader to pay for him or just want things to fall on his or her lap. But I am encouraged because we will all do the talking. “A challenge has been thrown to all state government; we are prepared to take that challenge. We will make available the report of our health sector committee – as if they knew. One of the things recommended was that we must have a cancer treatment centre. “We are prepared to establish a Cancer Treatment Centre in no distant time. We will become the Meca for treatment of cancer in Nigeria”, he affirmed.
The founder of BRECAN, Mrs. Betty Akeredolu, the wife of the Ondo State Governor in her remark applauded the Governor for promising to take the lead to build a State Cancer Centre noting that the fight against cancer is a collective one.
Her words: “Our women should pay attention to their breast – feel for changes like lump or discolouration of the breast. Do not waste any time and if you don’t have access to a Doctor, call BRECAN nearest to you. Breast Cancer is affecting our women at an alarming rate. So what we are left with is information. Information is key. “With a well-equipped State Cancer Centre, you can screen women who are above 40years old. For you to feel breast lump, it must have been there for over 10 years. It could be a birthday gift for your wife to go for such screening. You can imagine the sufferings of cancer patients in this country”, she stressed.
While calling on Corporate Nigeria to play their part stressing that there is a need for a paradigm shift as early detection is cost effective, she frowned at cultural practices that discourages women from seeking medical help.
The Chairman of the Occasion, Professor Friday Okonofua, who is the Vice Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences, Ondo State acknowledged the fact that this was the first time in the history of Nigeria that a First Lady is coming out on an activist ground to fight a cause. “BRECAN was established in 1997 not 2017”, he affirmed.
Prof. Okonofua was however optimistic that when the history of Nigeria is written in terms of the fight against breast cancer, her name will be in the roll call. In his lecture titled: ‘Breast Cancer in Nigeria, the challenge and the hope’, the Guest Lecturer, Dr. Adewale Adisa affirmed that painless lump in the breast can be more worrisome while enjoining women to self-examine themselves as early detection aids treatment.
While highlighting the different treatment options for breast cancer which includes chemotherapy, surgery, lump removal, radiation therapy among others as well as those at higher risk of contracting the disease, he enjoined women to take preventive steps by doing exercise and having healthy eating habits.