December 6, 2022

Amarachi Okeh

The Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Health has called for a collaborative effort in the fight against breast cancer.

Speaking at a Road Awareness Walk organised by the Ministry of Health in partnership with a pharmaceutical company, Novartis, to wrap up the Year 2022 Pink October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Lagos State, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye said efforts like raising necessary awareness, sensitizing the populace, raising funds to help support life-saving treatment services, research, life-changing support, and rehabilitation are critically needed in the fight against breast cancer.

Ogboye also noted that the majority of deaths from breast cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries, where most women with breast cancer are diagnosed in late stages due mainly to a lack of awareness of the disease, late detection, poor health-seeking behaviours, and barriers to health services.

He stressed that early detection remains the key to effectively treating the disease. 

He said, “currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of effective control.

“When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that it can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option.

“It is therefore very essential that we continue to inform ourselves about cancers and the fact that every single person can make a difference; be it large or small, and also that together we can make real progress in reducing the global impact of cancer, create a cancer-free world and prevent millions of deaths each year”.

In the state’s bid to contribute to the fight against breast cancer in the state, the permanent secretary disclosed that an Oncology Centre is being considered to ensure the best and most modern methods of diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer are made available for residents of the state.

Ogboye encourages women to take advantage of the free Breast Cancer Screening facilities provided by the State Government at 60 designated public health facilities in the State to get their breasts examined, noting that seeking help early is always better, cheaper, and less stressful than curative measures.

“Let us all remember to adopt a healthy and safe lifestyle; ensure we go for regular screening as at when due and seek medical help early,” he said.

In the same way, the Director of Disease Control, Ministry of Health, Dr. Rotimi Agbolagorite advised women to always take note of their breasts and seek help immediately when they notice any change in the structure of their breast tissue, lump, or any skin colour change on the breast area, especially around the areolae.

“And the message is that as long as, or as much as you notice any change in the architecture or the structure of your breast tissue, or you notice any swelling or any lump or any skin colour change on your breast area, make sure you visit the nearest hospital to have yourself clinically assessed and evaluated. And if cancer is diagnosed, you will be managed promptly by the medical experts,” he said.

The Lagos State Cancer Control Program Coordinator, Dr. Abosede Wellington in her speech said that Breast cancer is leading cancer in women adding that one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

She, however, assured that the Lagos State Government through the Cancer Awareness Control Program is intensifying efforts aimed at creating awareness and improving access to diagnosis and treatment services for breast cancer.

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