BRECAN @20: Experts explore way forward, charts course on cancer management

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The founder of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) and the First Lady of Ondo State, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has identified crowd-funding as an alternative source of funding cancer treatment in Nigeria.

Speaking at the workshop organized by Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) at the Public Service Training Institute (PSTI) at Ilara Mokin, Mrs. Akeredolu who observed that aside battling with misconceptions that shrouds breast cancer, there is also the issue of funding treatment, thus the need to adopt crowd funding as a short time approach to addressing this ugly trend.

While calling for support to help Ondo State women with breast cancer through the N200 million Crowd Funding Initiative, Mrs. Akeredolu stressed the need for all every individual to be involved as government cannot do everything.

“Aside the fact that we battle with misconception about breast cancer, we also battle with our people not having funds for treatment and so they resort to where they will not spend so much money like the Prayer House.

“In truth, these women have no other choice if access to care is not made available. We cannot wait for government to do everything. If we are to follow bureaucratic process to get funds that means most of these women will die before the funds come through. This is just a short time approach to addressing an ugly situation”, she stressed while emphasizing the place of advocacy and lobbying so that funds are appropriated for health.

Dr. Katung while speaking on the Challenges of Managing Cancer Patients in Nigeria highlighted late presentation, poor attitude of health workers, non availability of branded chemotherapeutic drugs in the face of poor resources among other.

According to him, the cost of medical diagnosis, histopathology as well as hormonal receptors among others is quite expensive, thus the need to adopt public education and promote awareness on risky behaviour.

While lauding the efforts of BRECAN over the years in fighting the scourge of breast cancer, Dr. Katung urged government at all levels to increase budgetary allocation on health.

Earlier, facilitators at the break out session in the different forum such as Youth Forum, Survivor Forum, Health Professional Forum Women Forum and General Forum explored in detail different topics which were followed by question and answer sessions from participants.

Presenting his paper titled ‘What Is breast cancer? Breast Cancer Pathogenesis’, Dr. Olumide Aladesuru, a Consultant General Surgeon took time to highlight what breast cancer means and the factors that puts one at risk such as gender, age, race, hereditary, poor diet, smoking, alcoholism among others.

While tracing the clinical features of a painless lump on the breast as a ticking bomb, Dr. Aladesuru x-rayed treatment option such as breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy with involve the use of Tamoxifen stressing that breast cancer is indeed treatable when detected on time.

Dr. Aladesuru also explored the clinical options of Risk Reduction Modalities which include among others surgical option as he stressed that screening culture should be encouraged.

Dr. Akinjide Ogundokun, a family Physician while exploring the topic: ‘Early Detection Of Breast Cancer And Patient Navigation’ traced the different stages of breast development noting that in Nigeria, the peak age of breast cancer is about 42.6 years which is 12% less than 30 years of age.

According to him, majority of patients delay presenting at the hospital because of ignorance, fear of surgery and at times because they seek alternative herbal therapies thus complicating the whole process.

Another Family Physician, Dr. Olaniyi Johnson who spoke on Breast Cancer Prevention; Lifestyle Approach emphasized that people are increasingly living at risk because of their lifestyle.

Dr. Olaniyi also highlighted the dangers of certain lifestyles that puts one at risk of cancer which include smoking, alcoholism while stressing that it is good to maintain healthy body weight, eat right and be involved in physical activity in order to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Other facilitators at the programme include Dr. Margaret Isabella who explored the need for a national health policy; Jennifer Dents; Dr. Niyonzima (Uganda Cancer Care) among others.

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