By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
WORRIED by the increasing cases of breast cancer among Nigerian women, a beauty queen, Mrs. Janefrances Chikeluba has organized cancer screening exercise for women in Idemili North and South local government areas of Anambra State as one of her pet projects during her reign.
Chikeluba (23), a graduate of Biochemistry from Chukwuemeka Odunegwu Univerisity, Igbariam and currently a member of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, at the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, who won the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria for the two local government areas, said the terrible experiences of women who suffer the scourge made her to approach individuals and organizations to assist her to organize the screening exercise.
With the assistance of community leaders in the area, the women came together for the purpose of finding out if they had lumps on their breasts, which experts say, was the first sign of breast cancer.
Mrs. Chinwe Okeke, a nurse, who was a member of the medical team, in a paper she delivered before the commencement of the screening exercise, advised women to regularly check out for lumps on their breasts, regretting that many women had died of breast cancer due to neglect and lack of knowledge.
According to her, women from 20 years must do the cancer test regularly by pressing their breasts to look out for any lump, adding that anyone who found such a lump must not hesitate to consult a medical personnel.
Okeke said: “There are different kinds of cancer. We all have cells, but whenever any cell begins to grow beyond the normal size, cancer is suspected. Breast cancer is a major killer and any woman from 20 years should always test herself for any growth on her breasts.
“Due to the poor economy, many women complain of lack of funds to visit health facilities for check up, but we want to emphasize that prevention is always better than cure.”
She also informed the women that cancer is hereditary and advised those whose relations suffered the scourge to, as a matter of routine, go for regular checks.
Addressing the women, Miss Chikeluba expressed happiness at the large turnout of women for the exercise, adding that after winning the pageant, she thought of a project to embark on and later came up with the idea of organizing breast cancer for the women of Idemili, which is her area.
The beauty queen said: “Many women need regular screening for breast cancer, but because most of them lack the resources to go for regular screening, they allow the lump on their breast to grow to a dangerous level.
“We don’t pray that we will discover cancer cases during this exercise, but we have decided that the medical team would advise us on the next step to take to treat such cases.”
She urged the women to always examine themselves for any lump on their breasts and to approach any medical personnel for further advice, noting that many women had had to die carelessly due to non detection of the disease early. She also explained that apart from the cancer awareness campaign, she hoped to execute two other projects during her reign.
Acting President General of Abatete Development Union, Mr. Annie Ekunie commended the beauty queen for coming to assist women in the area, adding that early detection of breast cancer would help reduce the number of cases among women.
He reminded the women that there was nothing for the women to be ashamed of by approaching medical personnel to have their breast tested on a regular basis.