79th Scientific Conf: Ondo First Lady advocates national programme on breast cancer awareness

..earns Surgeons’ accolade for contributing to breast cancer awareness

The need to prevent late presentation in hospital, which characterises most breast cancer cases, through provision of psychosocial support, has been emphasised.

It was stated that health seeking behaviour play a major role in breast cancer survival, as it has been realised that non-acceptance of medical treatment and seeking alternative orthodox care were factors responsible to decreased survival rate in lower-middle income countries, like Nigeria.

These were the submissions of the First Lady of Ondo State, Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, while presenting a paper themed: “Breast Cancer Support Services The Journey So Far”, at the 79th Scientific Conference & Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Surgical Research Society,  NSRS, ‘Ondo 2022’, held at the TETFUND hall of the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo City.

Representative of Her Excellency, Mr Ife Awoyelu addressing participants at the conference

Mrs Akeredolu, who founded Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), about 25 years ago after surviving the disease, analysed the World Health Organisation’s cancer country profile 2020, and lamented how Nigeria lagged behind in cancer screening, inadequate radiotheraphy centres and high cost of chemotherapy treatment, unlike Morocco and India.

Represented by Mr Ife Awoyelu of Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation(BAAF), the BRECAN Founder decried the non-existence of a national programme targeted at improving breast cancer awareness in Nigeria.

Paper presentation by Her Excellency’s representative

According to her, although there’s a considerable high level of awareness about breast cancer, the recorded achievement was linked to efforts of Non-governmental Organisations and some Radio stations that were involved in an on-air campaign for regular screening.

She hinted that despite the awareness efforts of these NGOs, especially BRECAN, a large proportion of the population still had poor knowledge of cancer, hence, the need to engage religious leaders.

She highlighted some of the support cares provided by BRECAN in order to increase survival, to include establishment of BRECAN Centre in Ibadan to accommodate patients on treatment schedules at the University Teaching Hospital, introduction of Crowd funding to assist patients’ treatment bills and with different awareness strategies.

L-R: Mr Awoyelu, NSRS’ President, Dr. Okoro and the UNIMED VC, PROF. Fatusi

Commending the NSRS’ Members for their efforts at providing healthcare through researches, she said: ” I in particular remain in awe of this amazing profession considering my experience with breast cancer 25years ago.

“As an advocate of breast cancer, I see Surgeons as true partners working tirelessly to ensure that no woman loses her life to breast cancer.  We see what you do; from the free surgeries you conduct for those indigent patients, to following-up on the samples sent to Pathologists and ensuring not many patients are lost to follow-up, indeed you are our great support”.

Team of Her Excellency in a group photograph with Local Organising Committee members of the conference

Earlier in his opening remarks, the NSRS’ President, Dr. Philemon Okoro, had stated that the essence of coming together of members was to further the cause of the society in Nigeria and develop the skill of surgical research.

He added further that, the Society ensured members were involved in active research by presenting scientific paper, at least every year to retain their membership.

Okoro lauded the efforts and contributions of Her Excellency to the fight against breast cancer through her Foundation and for also leveraging on her position as First Lady to galvanise actions towards increasing survival rate.

Prof Fatusi addressing participants

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences, UNIMED, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, expressed happiness for hosting the 79th conference, being first of such since his assumption of office.

Prof. Fatusi, who described research as very important to improve the quality of care, however, noted with dismay that, the quantum of research didn’t equate with the opportunities available.

Mary Agidi
Special Assistant to Ondo State Governor on Media (Office of the First Lady)
July 8, 2022

Published by WonderLady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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