Why Nigeria Is Yet To Get It Right In Cancer Care ",By Ondo Governor's Wife

The Wife of Ondo State Governor and Founder of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, (BRECAN) Mrs Betty Akeredolu, has called for concerted efforts to fight the scourge of cancer in the country.

Mrs Akeredolu made the call when he paid a courtesy call on his Imperial Majesty, the Alaafin of Oyo, Iku Baba Yeye, Oba (Dr) Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111.

"The call to beat cancer is a call to all and we must all put resources together to fight it," she said.

The governor's wife explained there is need for aggressive  promotion of actions and activities targeting at fighting the scourge all over the world.

She noted that statistics released by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that Nigeria holds one of the worst record for cancer mortality.

According to her, the high level of cancer rates in developing countries like Nigeria follows simultaneously high incidences of numerous communicable diseases, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and many others.

"This sad reality of ours is what NGOs like BRECAN are working tirelessly to change, but efforts are being frustrated by the poor allocation of funds for cancer care and control in Nigeria.

"Indeed, we are yet to get it right in cancer care as a country.

"It is sad to know that we barely have three functioning standard cancer treatment centres to offer services in a country of almost 200 million people.

"It is no surprise that we currently rank top among countries with the highest cancer case and we lose so much revenue to India through medical tourism most of which are cancer related," she said.

She, however, called on everyone to take action by demanding the leadership of Nigeria to prioritize cancer care, adding that early detection and presentation remain the major predictor of patients' survival.

"It is therefore necessary for people to become aware of the most common forms of cancer, their risk factors, preventive measures, and the importance of early detection and presentation.

"It is equally important that every woman checks her breasts monthly by conducting breast self-examination to check for lumps and other unusual breast changes," Mrs Akeredolu said.

"We also need awareness for our women to understand the behaviour of this disease. If you don’t explain to them, they will keep thinking it is the result of Juju (charm) or spiritual attack; it is when wehave a robust awareness campaign and consistency, like what was done to HIV/AIDS, that we will be succeeding against breast cancer.

"A woman must be familiar with her breasts, if she is not familiar with how their breasts look like, there is no way she can notice any unusual change. When you tell our women to do this, they will tell you that ‘God forbid’, they are covered by the blood of Jesus; they are daughters of Zion.

"We must figure how to explain it to our women, especially those who don’t have education so that they don’t waste their time on praying mountains; science is science. We can break it down to the language they understand.   Nobody should think that breaking down science in our local languages is difficult, it is not but a matter of political will so that people will understand what is going on and take advantage of knowledge".

She however postulated  that together we can create an unstoppable force in the National Assembly pushing for the passage of bills that will compel our government to place breast cancer on national agenda. 

Mrs. Akeredolu who expressed her appreciation for the dedication, commitment and sense of devotion accorded BRECAN by wife of the Alaafin, Ayaba Anuoluwapo, hinted that the monarch's better half would soon be conferred with the Ambassadorial award by the NGO.

She later presented the NGO's souvenir to the Royal father.

In his address, Oba Adeyemi lauded the initiative of Mrs Akeredolu in fighting the deadly scourge and saving lives of fellow citizens through advocacy and enlightenment 

The Paramount urged Nigerians to eschew vortex of cynicism but give aggressive support to BRECAN , so that the arduous task of nipping the scourge in the bud can be successfully accomplished.

Oba Adeyemi also presented the Governor's wife with gift.

The event was attended by menbers of Oyo Traditional Council ( Oyo Mesi), Vice Chancellor, Saying Crowther University, Right Reverend Professor Dapo Asaju, Provost, Federal College of Education( Special), Professor Usman Adeyemi who was ably represented, Provost, Emmanuel alAyinde College of Education, Dr. Rasak Adefabi, as well as Registrar of the Atiba University.

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