Lagos First Lady urges stakeholders to fight cancer ignorance

Lagos First Lady urges stakeholders to fight cancer ignorance

  • as Sebeccly, others conduct free screening and treatment of 7, 000 women

To eliminate cervical cancer in Lagos and Nigeria in general, the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has called on all stakeholders including government, corporate bodies, civil societies, and other well-meaning individuals to come together and wage war against cancer ignorance through adequate awareness.

This she said as a non-governmental organization, Sebeccly Cancer Care in partnership with the Lagos State Government and Aspire Coronation Trust, ACT, Foundation commenced a two-day free screening and treatment of not less than 7, 000 women in the three primary healthcare centers, PHC, in the state namely: Ita-Elewa Ikorodu; Rauf Aregbesola in Okunola, Egbeda in Alimosho and Iga-Idunganran , Lagos Island.

Worried by the level of cancer denial among women, the First Lady noted that the most important step to fight any form of cancer is awareness because information is important. She said by enough awareness women will know that early detection through screening can save their lives.

“It is essential to undergo screening because it is through it that women at risk of cervical cancer are detected judging that cervical cancer does not show symptoms at the early stage.

“It is important to note that screening is only effective if there’s a well-organised system to follow up the treatment which Sebeccly Cancer Care center is demonstrating.”

She added that the program is a right move that will go a long way in complementing the efforts of the government to eradicate cancer in Lagos State and Nigerian.

Sanwo-Olu said, “As a woman and a member of a medical family, I must say that I fully align myself with the laudable contributions of Sebeccly Cancer Care in empowering and caring for people affected by cancer since it was established in 2006.

“As part of this program also, I am aware there will be free training for the use of cancer treatment equipment while the machines to carry out free treatments of cancer abnormalities, we will install at Iga-Ifungaran PHC center for the period six months, from September to February 2020.”

She commended Sebeccly Cancer Care for the program which she believes will contribute immensely to reducing cancer burden and growing number of cancer survivors in Nigeria.

Corroborating Sanwo-Olu views, a Consultant Physician Dermatologist who also doubles as the President elect of Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Prof Francis Ajose, also expressed worry that ignorance is making women live in denial.

She said: “Women know about cancer but they don’t want to hear of it. Even when you have cancer screening facility, they don’t want to come because they say it is not their portion, they just want to relate with it.

But she said this myth is being fought through educating girls in schools in ways to prevent cancer thereby depopulating the number of those that turn positive.

Earlier in her address, the Permanent Secretary Lagos State Healthcare Board, Dr Tayo Lawal, commended the initiative, saying that more than three to four cervical cancer patients are diagnosed at advanced stages which are leading to poor prospects of long-term survival and cure.

She said: “Evidence abounds that screening is currently viewed as the most effective approach for cervical cancer control and it is associated with reduced incidence and mortality from the disease.”

However, the founder of Sebeccly Cancer Care and a Consultant Radiation Oncologist Dr. Omolola Salako, said the NGO together with its partners have integrated the free screening and treatment in three PHCs.

She said: “Today we have launched the initiative, meaning that women from 21 years and above can come in for their screening in any of the three PHCs. What is important in cancer is to prevent cancers that are preventable and this move has ensured that through collaboration with Lagos State, ACT Foundation and other partners, we will be able to eliminate cervical cancer from affecting thousands of women.

In appreciation, Chairman Lagos Island Local Government, Mr. Toye Olusi, commended the initiative and promised to mobilse the women in the LGA to come out in mass so as to benefit from it.

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