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Hope rekindles for breast cancer survivors

…As C.O. P.E launches Therapy Package

By Chioma Obinna

CANCER may be the number one chronic human disease but many care givers are now devising simple ways of enabling cancer survivors live openly and think positively.

Cross section of cancer survivors during COPE Musical Therapy session last week in Lagos.

An encounter with a group of cancer survivors who  recounted testimonies of their challenges was quite graphic.

It was the first 2018 meeting of Breast Cancer Survivors Support Group of the Care. Organization. Public Enlightenment. C.O.P E. an organisation that provides free ultrasound screening for cancer survivors, creates awareness as well as gives hope to persons living with cancer.

A few  spoke about their challenges. Some in dire need of money to the tune of N500, 000 to keep accessing treatment are still waiting to hear from organisations that pledged to assist .

The fate of several that require different laboratory tests  hangs in the balance, as they await  urgent intervention.  For those that require prostheses, the current foreign exchange has shot up the cost as a complete prosthetic bra is about N80,000 which is unaffordable for those requiring it.

One survivor who tried to improvise with locally made materials  said she regretted it.

“I was feeling  irritations and I went to the hospital for tests but they could not find anything.  When I now placed the locally made prothesis on my breast it started happening again, the doctor recommended some antibiotics which resolved the problem.  I thank God I am alive today.”

According to another survivor: “As I speak now, I am in dire need of money for three lab tests now but there is no money. I have gone everywhere, no money. I have told God that this sickness will not kill me.

“I went for my rountine check, I was asked to do three tests, CT scan, bone scan, and mammogram, I am still believing God for money. I almost gave up after the death of my partner but today I have summoned courage again,”

As the testimonies continued, C.O.P.E unveiled what it tagged “Therapy package for breast cancer survivors.”

The package which includes musical therapy is designed to calm  survivors and make them pick courage to continue to live. All survivors then lay on the floor forming a circle with their legs joined in the middle.

For 20 minutes, they were in that position as light music played. A few said it was a big relief to their burden.

The Chief Executive Director, C.O.P.E, Mrs Ebun Anozie, said the therapy package is from a training she had over the years about helping survivors come out of their shell and have the will to live, and not to see cancer as  death sentence.

“The musical therapy is to make them fly out of the norm, flow and free their minds. It eases the pains they are going through and makes them think positively.  You heard their testimonies. To make them ease the pain they went through and flow into a positive year,” she stated.

Anozie who lamented that the group lost five of their members last year, said cancer although and individual could be given a clean bill of health though not in all cases.

“A lot of things happen along the line. As a care giver, sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough, sometimes I feel so pained.  It is not easy for you to love and lose a dear one because they are all very dear to me.

“It takes a lot of energy out of me because you have come to know them very well, it is painful there is also a therapy I go through as well as a care giver,” she stated with emotions.

Anozie appealed to well-meaning individuals and corporate organisations to help save the lives of these Nigerians.

“We need a lot of finance to help them with their treatment. Some are still on their yearly treatment and  don’t have the money . Without money it is depressing and could trigger some other things. My prayer is that God should give C.O.P.E the means to reach out to them.”

Reacting to Federal government plan to screen all Nigerians for cancer, Anozie said “I don’t know what they have on the table but there are rules to screening. If it is breast cancer, there is Breast Self Examination, breast ultra sound scan, mammogram and Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI. Different stages require different things. We should be sure what we are doing.”


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