As C.O.P.E marks 2019 Love Feast
By Chioma Obinna
Nigerian women who are breast cancer survivors have renewed their plea to the Federal government to provide effective cancer care and support services in the country to enable them stay alive and healthy.
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The women in their numbers who gave graphic details of how they survived the disease against all odds appealed to the Federal Government to urgently establish a comprehensive cancer centre to ameliorate sufferings of millions of Nigerians seeking improved cancer care.
They spoke during an event tagged: “Love Feast” organised by Care Organisation Public Enlightenment, COPE, with support from Access Bank to mark a year of the support group in Lagos.
The Founder/Chief Executive Officer, COPE, Mrs. Ebunola Anozie, said the support group called for regular self-breast examination for every woman as being a woman is universal risk of breast cancer.
Anozie who noted that Nigeria was on track of being breast cancer aware explained that having one’s first child after the age of 30 and getting older also predisposes to breast cancer.
“Every woman has to check her breasts every month. I am very grateful that a lot of women are becoming more aware and people are coming out early for screening though some are still coming late,” she added.
Regretting that Nigeria was yet to have one comprehensive cancer centre, she emphasised the need for the government to do more in cancer care and management in the country.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government because we do not have a comprehensive cancer centre. Treatment of cancer should not be where we have a teaching hospital. It might be attached outside. It is not a situation where your treatment is delayed. It is where you have everything that would help you get the right treatment and assistant”.
A comprehensive cancer care centre is where experts carry out research, clinical trials, study the patterns, causes, and control of cancer in groups of people and provide services directly to cancer patients and also give cancer information to health care professionals and the public. Anozie noted that COPE has been to a lot of places for screening and awareness with a lot of success stories. “Apart from that, we are trying to revamp our shop so that it will be easier for patients to have materials they need to make them feel comfortable after traumatic surgery and we also need a lot of sponsors to achieve this.
“We look forward to next year. It is an avenue to reach out to members who are in dire need. We thank God for the sponsorship of Access bank because we would not have done this without them.”
One of the survivors, Ms. Akpan Trinita said: “I’m excited because we don’t have cause to mourn anyone this year. I’m so excited about that that we are celebrating survivor’s anniversary. I also want to appreciate COPE because people now call me across the country on cancer- related issues and I encourage them to join COPE.
“We also want to thank our families because we know that some friends left us but our family stood by us. We pray 2020 will be more of gratitude” she said.