Cancer cells

By Funmi Ogundare

The Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Chris Bode, has called on Nigerians and women in particular, to patronise the country’s healthcare facilities for the prevention of cancer, saying that it was more convenient and cheaper since the manpower and wherewithal were available.

Bode who made this known recently, during the commissioning and handover of one stop breast cancer clinic, an initiative of Run for Cure Africa, in Lagos, argued that travelling abroad was not the best and that it was affordable to be treated in any pubic hospital where government has already subsidised treatment.

According to him, “It is still cheaper to get treated in your own country by your people when you have any ailment. Now that we have the facilities here, travelling abroad is not the best, you already have what you are looking for. We have the manpower and the wherewithal. What we expect is that we have what it takes to treat most conditions in Nigeria. Lets us rebuild the confidence in what we have. We are not perfect yet but we are working towards it.

“When you get treated for a condition like cancer abroad, no matter what, they will still tell you to go home to continue the treatment. The cost of treatment and staying abroad is more expensive. When you are in Nigeria, your relations will be there in the hospital to visit you. We should hope for the best in Nigeria that many good things are happening,” he said.

For women who are battling with breast cancer and depends on traditional medicine, he advised them to go for yearly breast cancer screening, saying, “it’s simple. They should start from personal examination daily or weekly. If you notice a lump in your breast or discharge, you have to come to the centre to be examined. Get examined yearly too by a doctor so that if there is any lump, they will test it. If it cancerous, they will treat it. Breast cancer when noticed very early has very good outcome. It is when you leave it and when it gets too late it becomes incurable.”

The Executive Director of Run for Cure Africa Breast Cancer Foundation, Mrs Ebele Mbanugo, said the programme was designed to commemorate the International Women’s Day and that it was a clinic where women can come for breast cancer treatment and any issue related to the breast.

She said she was inspired to set up the foundation when her mother who was diagnosed of the disease died in 2007, noting, “at that time it was stage one and treatable, sadly it got to her brain and eventually she died. So I was inspired to help other women fight.”

Asked if the disease is curable, she said, “we realised that there are different needs as regards to breast cancer care, so we are just tapping into those needs one step at a time. We can’t say it is 100 per cent preventable, but we can reduce the risk of getting it, that is where the awareness comes in because you want to be able to do what you can to reduce your risks.”

The Group Medical Director, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Dr. Mohammed Bello Aliyu, said the foundation had requested support for the renovation and equipping of a building provided by LUTH for the sole purpose running the clinic which will provide free screening, consultation and treatment, adding that it is indicative of the organisation’s corporate citizenship in health interventions.

Emphasising on his organisation’s partnership with LUTH for those who have the disease, he said, “the mistake a lot of people make, which makes doctors helpless is the late presentation of diagnosis and render doctors incapacitated. The relevance of having such a clinic is that if a woman finds any lump, she can run to this place and there would be an early diagnosis. If a quick diagnosis is provided, and it is cancer, first it is helpful, if it is diagnosed early. The cost of treatment is not as high as when it is diagnosed late.

“Secondly if it is not cancer, there is an opportunity for the lady to be educated and enlightened on the prevention of breast cancer. It is important for people to begin to do what is expected, if you feel a lump, don’t wait, early diagnosis, early treatment equals survival and reduce cost in treatment.”