Not had time to blog for some time, and I hope to make up for that soon. But I could not help putting this post up to support an initiative by my youth corper (NYSC) medical doctor baby sister to bring attention to the issue of breast cancer in Nigeria. Below is verbatim from her….
Breast cancer is a major killer of women worldwide. It is the commonest cancer affecting women and the fifth commonest cause of cancer death worldwide. Here in Nigeria, it is the commonest malignancy and is estimated to kill 25,000 women annually, making it the commonest cause of cancer death in them.
A diagnosis of breast cancer puts overwhelming stress on the patient, family members and close friends. It disrupts family relationships causing considerable physical, psychological and occupational vulnerability, which persists even long after treatment. However, these consequences can be significantly lessened when it is diagnosed and treated in its early stages.
The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast. Other possible signs are dimpling, nipple changes or abnormal nipple discharge. All of these signs can many times be picked early either by mammography or, in low resource circumstances like ours, by regular breast examination.
Breast lumps are detected often by the hands, either those of the woman herself or a health personnel. Breast Self Examination (BSE) is a simple effective way of picking breast changes which may be early pointers to the disease. It is sad though, that BSE is not done (many times not done at all or is done inappropriately) by most women.
As part of my Community Development Service, I have planned a programme tagged 2000 BREASTS TM – a breast cancer awareness and screening programme for a thousand women. The first episode of this programme scheduled for January 21 and 22, 2013 is targeted at women in the Adekunle Fajuyi Army Cantonment, Ibadan and environs.
The goal of the programme is to educate the women about breast cancer, and aid early detection of breast cancer and other breast pathologies.
The activities of the programme, would include:
• A health talk on Breast Cancer -the disease, burden, clinical features, diagnosis and management.
• Demonstration of Breast Self Examination (BSE) and encouragement of regular/ monthly BSE.
• Clinical breast examination(CBE) of the women by trained health personnels (including Clinical oncologists from the University College Hospital, Ibadan).
• Distribution of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials.
• Referral/ensuring mammography/histology and further management of identified cases.
This project is supported by the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria(BRECAN). AfyaZima is also proud to be a partner to this effort.
The program is still a few days away, yet I received this note yesterday from Saidat; “Thank you for supporting my project. I just picked a 50-year old woman with advanced breast cancer. She had been nursing the ailment @ home/ traditional clinics/ chemists, until her neighbour saw my poster, and dialled my number.@
2000 breasts…perhaps a lump you pick will save someone’s life.
For more details email me at email@example.com or get in touch with Dr Saidat Bello at 08053381531