By Debo Akinbami
The Nigerian Cancer Society, NCS, has described the First Lady of Ondo State, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, as a pride for expanding the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) and for intervening in the ordeals of breast cancer victims.
President of NCS, Dr. Adamu Alhassan Umar, made the comment during a courtesy call on the Governor’s wife by members of the Nigerian Cancer Society at the Ondo State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.
“The rapid expansion of the BRECAN vis-à-vis the myraid of community interventions offered to the cancer victims and indeed other forms of cancer has become a thing of pride for all cancer advocates in the country and beyond.
“You have been part of the successes recorded by the NCS over the years and have been an active participant of all advocacy engagements of the society, contributing in cash and kind, sometimes without any form of solicitation from the society.”
The society also commended the First Lady for consistency of purpose, love for humanity and exemplary leadership style, saying: “We salute your consistency of purpose, love for humanity and exemplary leadership style in the growth of BRECAN which you nurtured and saw to its steady growth over the past twenty four years and still counting.
“This was made possible by the fact that you are a proud cancer survivor who has conquered the fight and your desire to ensure fewer people are affected by cancers, fewer die from it and those who are already affected have a better quality of life.”
In her reaction, Mrs. Akeredolu emphasize the need for raising awareness on breast cancer so that more women with cancerous symptoms can present themselves for early treatment.
“Awareness is very critical. We don’t need to wait until people are diagnosed with cancer before we begin to raise awareness. If we want to make real progress in the fight against breast cancer, creating awareness is where to begin. We need to educate our women on the need to regularly examine their breast. We need to make use of our primary health centres in educating our women. It is important to start from the primary health centres, from there we begin to educate our women at the grassroots, and doing this means a lot in the fight against breast cancer.
“Between 1997 when BRECAN came to the scene and now, the graph on the incidence of late diagnosis of breast cancer has not changed which means that late presentation of breast cancer is not decreasing. It shows that we are not getting something right. Let every woman be knowledgeable about the need to self-examine her breasts every month which enables her to detect any unusual changes in her breasts. When you present early, you are more likely to survive it. It has also been proven that when you present early at stage one, there is no need for the dreaded chemotherapy” she said.
The First Lady encouraged the society to review its strategies to enable it achieve its goals. In her words: “We need to redesign our strategies to ensure improved outcomes in our effort in cancer control. Vote money into awareness creation nationwide so that more women can begin to present early and we can achieve a decrease in late presentation of breast cancer”