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Experts seek positive awareness campaigns on cancer

…as the Bloom Cancer Care celebrates 10th anniversary

By  Chioma Obinna
With continued rise in the cost of cancer treatments and management in Nigeria, experts have called for massive but a positive awareness campaign on cancer, saying it would prevent further avoidable deaths from the disease.

In a chat with Good Health Weekly during the 10th Anniversary/Fund – raising night of the Bloom Cancer Care& Support Centre  in Lagos, the Founder/Executive of the Centre, Dr. Kofoworola Orija said massive awareness on cancer was necessary as most Nigerians before now have refused to talk about it due to ignorance.

Orija who blamed the high mortality rate from cancer on ignorant noted that there have been negative views about the disease which, she said, has affected the way most Nigerians feel about the disease. Her words, “If people have the right information and messages they should be able to know what to do or look out for, if for any event they have found something suspicious in any part of their bodies.

She said positive awareness would assist patients pick the disease early as well initiate treatment immediately.In other parts of the world, we know that with information and early diagnosis and treatment people are now surviving cancers and that is what we want to bring into Nigeria. If it is happening elsewhere, it will happen here in Nigeria too”.

Orija who spoke extensively on the need for well-meaning Nigerians, cooperate organisations and the government to assist cancer patients said cancer is expensive to treat and not within the reach of the poor. To this end, the Centre is establishing a trust fund that would also help pay for the treatments of less privileged Nigerians who cannot afford the treatments.

Giving insight into the treatment costs, she said, “To get only mammograph done in Nigeria today, a patient must have at least N10 to N15, 000.00 and a particular medication a patient is suppose to take for three weeks cost about N60, 000.00 and when you now talk about Chemotherapy and other treatments you need nothing less than N65, 000.00 depending on where you find your self. It is quiet expensive and not within the reach of everyone”

From left; Mrs Adejumoke Bako, Coordinator, Friends of the Bloom, Chief ( Mrs) Oluwatoyin Olakunri, Chairman, The Bloom, Chief (Mrs) Mubo Bayode, Ekiti State Commissioner for Woman Affairs , and Reverend George Bako ( Rtd ) Former Bishop of Lokoja at the Bloom Cancer Care & Support Centre Gala Night recently. Photo: Diran Oshe

Commending the Lagos State Government for dedicating Orile Agege General Hospital for free breast cancer surgery, she called for more players in making treatment for cancer in Nigeria affordable.

Corroborating her views, Otunba Alabi Shonibare who stressed that the country was much behind in addressing treatments and management of cancers regretted that Nigeria has not yet developed in the area of philanthropy.  He encouraged Nigerian women to adopt the culture of examining their breasts regularly as early detection is the sure way of surviving breast cancer.

Speaking, the Chairman of the Centre, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olakunri noted that the battle against cancer is making impact worldwide regretted that in Nigeria, nothing much has been done.

Olakunri stated that unless all victims come out in the open for early detection and early treatment, the fight will not fully be engaged.


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