Empower patients in fight against breast cancer
By Ebunoluwa Sessou
To create greater awareness around breast cancer, empower and support breast cancer patients in Nigeria and Ghana, Pfizer along with medical professionals held a media round table on Thursday, October 14, 2021.
The virtual media round table was organised to mark the 2021 Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Metastatic Breast Cancer Day that is celebrated annually in the month of October.
The event was attended by two reputable medical professionals from Nigeria and Ghana who addressed local metastatic breast cancer incidence, how it is diagnosed, who is at risk, steps to take to fight breast cancer and set the right expectation, as well as latest treatment advances.
The participants stressed that although great progress has been made in the treatment and care of breast cancer, there is still a lot more work to be done.
They agreed that this is especially true within underserved and hard-to-reach communities in places which, too often, experience critical gaps in their care.
Timely access, affordable treatment options and expansion of resources and programmes that address current disparities across age, race, gender, and location can remove barriers that stand in the way of the most vulnerable people with breast cancer.
One of the researches carried out by Globocan 2020 study, stated that “Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women in Nigeria and Ghana and accounting for 22.7 per cent of new cancer cases in Nigeria and 18.7 per cent of new ones in Ghana in 2020.
“50-60 per cent of breast cancer patients are in locally advanced or advanced stages at initial diagnosis.
“Metastatic breast cancer, MBC, is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, and it occurs when cancer spreads to other parts of the body such as the lung, brain, liver and bones,” it stated.
In his reaction, Dr. Kodjo Soroh, Medical Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Pfizer, said, the organisation remains committed to improving patients’ lives and supporting them at each step of their breast cancer experience.
“Through our partnerships and programs, we continue to create access to better screening services, clinical trials, treatment options and extended support to mental health and financial resources more so during life’s unexpected events such as COVID-19.”
Also, Dr. Hannah Naa Gogwe Ayettey Anie, National Radiotherapy Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Centre, Ghana, noted: “Most women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have any signs or symptoms of the disease.
“With better awareness, prevention, treatment and access to diagnostics, early detection could save between 2.4 and 3.7 million lives each year globally,” she said.
Also, Prof. Ifeoma Joy Okoye, Professor of Radiology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka added: “It is crucial for patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or even metastatic breast cancer, to have the right information and expectations.