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4,000 screened for cervical cancer in Lagos

…As Sebeccly Cancer Care opens free cancer clinic for women

By Chioma Obinna

Are you a Nigerian woman? When was the last time you screened for breast or cervical cancer? Do you know that 10,000 new cases of cervical cancer are recorded in Nigeria annually?

File: CANCER SCREENING: From right: Executive Director, Dr Omolala Salako and Project Director, Cervical Cancer Programme, Dr Kehinde Okunade both of Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre, educating members of the Health Writers Association of Nigeria, HEWAN during a free cervical and breast cancers screening for women and girls in Lagos recently.

Do you also know that 70 percent of these cases present with advanced diseases and sadly, the minority that present with early-stage disease which is curable, accessibility availability and affordability of radiotherapy remains a huge challenge?

These and more informed the on-going free cancer screening and treatment programme of Sebeccly Cancer Care for indigent women tagged: #TimeToScreen, TTS.

Berthed in October 2016, with over 4,000 women screened and 10 cancer cases prevented with free Colposcopy and Cryotherapy procedure, the programme was introduced to reduce the burden of breast and cervical cancer among less privileged Nigerian women.

The programme which now runs a clinic in Sabo, Yaba area of Lagos is also targeting to screen  10,000 women by first quarter of 2019.

Consultant Radiation Oncologist and Sebeccly’s Executive Director, Dr. Omolola Salako, said organised screening and vaccination remainsthe less torturous and cost-effective option to prevent cervical cancer.

Salako explained that the TTS was centered on creating cancer awareness, providing cancer screening and patient assistance as well as promoting survivorship issues.

“#TimeToScreen was developed to reduce the incidence of breast and cervical cancer. We have prevented 10 women from developing cervical cancer.  The more cervical cancer cases we prevent in the community the less number of cancer cases we will receive in the clinic. Secondly, for us to win the fight against breast cancer and improve the survival rate starts with early detection.”

On her part, the Clinical Nurse, Sebeccly Cancer Care, Ms. Elizabeth Osinowo said they have carried out screening in10 communities in Lagos.

Throwing light into the latest part of the programme which is the free Colposcopy and Cryotherapy, Osinowo said to ensure that women who have been screened get treatment, Sebeccly through support from ACT Foundation and Access Bank were able to procure the colposcopy machine to treat cervical cancer as well as stop progression of breast cancer.

“With colposcopy and cryotherapy, cervical cancer can be prevented through early detachment of the virus. Treatment of the virus is done through a procedure that magnifies the virus through the machine. The machine allows the blood cells to view the cervix in a very magnifying way to be able to see each virus and where the viruses are located at.

“Tests like the pap test or the HPV test can only show there is a problem there but the virus can only be seen with a microscope. When this is detected, colposcopy and cryotherapy are carried out on them for further treatment.  The cryotherapy is the freezing of the virus; it can be used either through the co2 gas or the lo2 depending on the one available. The virus is frozen until they die off which is what we are here to do for the women that we have detected they have this virus during our outreaches.”

“In some hospitals, the colposcopy test cost N38, 500 while the Cryotherapy is about N28,500. Here we do it free of charge with the help of our sponsors. They first funded us for the normal screening of women, but we discovered that we are screening and detecting and the women do not have money to do the treatments and they are left to their fate. The clinic is open to every Nigerian woman and the services are free.

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