LAGOS – A Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Dr Omolola Salako, on Monday identified ignorance and high cost of care part of the causes for late presentation of breast cancer by patients in hospitals.
Salako added that lack of survivorship messages, stigmatisation, fear of treatment and the side effects and lack of family support also contributed to the high rate of deaths due to cancers.
Salako, who is the Founder, Sebeccly Cancer Care, made the assertion at the launch of its cancer awareness programme, tagged “The Light Lagos Pink Cancer Campaign 2015’’ in Lagos.
She said that “Cancer is killing more people in the developing world than HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria combined.
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer and the principal cause of cancer deaths among women in Nigeria
“Over 80 per cent of breast cancer patients in Nigeria present in stage III and IV where little or nothing could be done to save the situation and this calls for concern.
“Moreover, one-third of these cancers are preventable, and an additional one-third of cancers can be detected and treated if presented early while there is still hope.
“We need survivors of breast cancer to come out and tell their stories to encourage many people who are hiding and would present their case when it is already too late,’’ she said.
Salako said there was an urgent need to promote breast cancer awareness, initiate action among women to attend breast screening and to increase access to cancer care to indigent patients.
“The `Light Lagos Pink Cancer Campaign` is an annual programme to ensure that proper information is being circulated in Lagos State on breast cancer.
“The significant part of the campaign which will be coming up in October during the Breast Cancer Awareness Month is fund raising to support cancer patients who cannot afford the cost of treatment.
“We are also appealing for N250 million to build the first Cancer Survivorship Centre in Nigeria to cater and treat 500 indigent patients as well as provide resources and aid for survivors.
“This centre will also provide cancer survivorship services, access to cancer care, support group meetings, counselling, recovery care products, breast navigation services, research and advocacy,’’ she said.
Also Speaking, Prof. Josbert Duncan, a professor of Radiotherapy at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said that cancer remained the number one killer of mankind.
According to him, the International Agency for Research on Cancer had predicted that by 2030, there will be more than 21 million new cases of cancer with 13 million cancer deaths every year.
“The rising cases of breast cancer and the high death rate requires urgency to support patients and also to improve on strategies to control breast cancer.
“This means that we have to start the fight against cancer before the issue gets out of hand. The government, NGOs and stakeholders must collaborate to save the situation.
“Women must also adopt the culture of self-breast examination for early detection of lumps and present cases early at the hospital for prompt diagnosis and treatment,’’ he said. (NAN)
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