Dr. Amaka Nnamani, a Radiologist Consultant with the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozala in Enugu State, has said that the only way to cure cancer, most especially breast cancer, is early detection.
Nnamani made this known during a walk to mark the 2019 World Breast Cancer Day in Enugu on Saturday.
According to the radiologist, once a teenage daughter starts forming breast, it is advised that parents examine her a week after seeing her period.
“We advise generally that once a woman starts forming breast, we teach her how to check herself which is part of the screening we are doing today, the breast self examination.
“Then, as they grow older, if there is any trace of family cancer history already, the person should present early in the hospital for various kinds of examination.
“Normally, if someone is below 40 years, we use ultra sound to screen; a woman can do her breast check once every year but from 40 and above, there should be a base line mammography scan in order to know how the breast density is in point and appearance,” she said.
She, however, implored wealthy Nigerians and organisations to open cancer centres in parts of the country for cancer screening and treatment, noting that government alone could not do it.
“Most developed countries have private hospitals doing well in cancer treatment even more than some government-owned hospitals.
“People should think of health industry in Nigeria so that people can also come from other countries for treatment because we have the professionals but lack facilities.
“Nigeria is a big and wealthy nation; no matter the situations we are facing presently, we can also turn things around especially our health sector to become a tourist center,” Nnamani said.
She explained that cancer was caused by mixture of many factors noting that it could be genetic, especially like the breast cancer because there were other forms of cancer.
“Some causes can be due to air pollution, kind of lifestyle, food, lack of exercise, obesity and so on, depending on the factors in people’s life,” she said.
In her remarks, Prof Ifeoma Okoye, a radiologist and founder, Breast Without Spot (BWS), disclosed that both male and female could have breast cancer.
Okoye said the awareness was to let both women and men know about cancer, the risk factor, how to check themselves and how to present early.
“We also want to preach lifestyle changes that will help promote good health generally.
“Our message mostly today by putting on pink wears is to create awareness that women, most especially our African women, have the highest breast cancer mortality rate in the world.
“We have gone ahead to teach women about breast self examination and with that they can present themselves for early treatment,” Okoye said.
Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Maureen Atuonwu, the South East Zonal Manager of NAN, who lost her 20 year old daughter to cancer four years ago, said that studies have proven that there were over 200 forms of cancer.
“Cancer has no age, it can happen to anyone at any age, even babies. Cancer is very painful, painfully expensive and capital intensive.
“We are appealing to Nigerians to go for early check up because early discovery can save a life.
“We want to also appeal to Nigerians that are financially buoyant to help in assisting the government to fight against cancer in our country by investing in the health sector, especially on cancer issues,” Atuonwu pleaded.
The theme for the 2019 World Breast Cancer Day is `Save a breast, Save a life’.
Some groups that participated in the awareness walk include the Medical Women Association (MWAN), Breast Images Society of Nigeria (BISON), Breast Without Spot, Ogechi Atuonwu Memorial Foundation and the Coal City Fitness Group.
The awareness walk commenced in the morning with a walk from Okpara Square round some major streets of Enugu as the groups disseminated leaflets to people on the street.
The walk terminated at the office of the MWAN on Abakaliki Road where breast and cervical screening were done on some interested women at subsidised rate of N1,000.