..enjoins women to participate in the ongoing free screening
In observance of the November 17 Global Strategy to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer, the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria, BRECAN, organised an interactive session in Akure, the Ondo State capital for students of selected secondary and primary schools.
The interactive session, which was held at the BRECAN House ijapo Estate, featured essay Competition on cervical cancer awareness amongst students from ijapo high school, Aquinas college, Seaba model school, St. Peter’s unity school, St. Michael Catholic school, Oyemekun grammar school, Federal Government Girls College, and African Church comprehensive high school.
In her welcome address, the State Chairperson of BRECAN, Mrs. Chinyere Iyke-Nneke, asserted that the Founder of BRECAN and First Lady of Ondo State, Chief Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, due to her passion to prevent women from dying needlessly, keyed in to the global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer which was birthed by the World Health Organisation in 2018.
“And in 2020, the strategy was launched, and the Founder of BRECAN, being a woman who has strong passion for women the reason for which she established BRECAN 25years ago to prevent women from needless death of breast cancer, with the same passion keys in to the global cervical cancer awareness strategy. Today, we are keying in to that strategy to eliminate cervical cancer and we thought we should catch them young , interact with the secondary schools to know the awareness level that we have around us and see how BRECAN can improve on its awareness creation “, she said.
The BRECAN Chairperson used the medium to encouraged women to seize the opportunity of the ongoing free cervical cancer screening, championed by the First Lady in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the WHO, across the health centres in the state.
She also enjoined men to allow their Wives to access the screening and spiritual leaders not to prevent women from seeking medical attention.
Adding to the knowledge of the students on cervical cancer, Dr. Johnson Olaniyi who spoke on ‘Eliminating Cervical Cancer’, described the disease as the second most common cancer in women and commonest genital cancer, which develops slowly and could take between 15-20years before resulting to full-blown cancer.
According to him, 274,000 deaths occur every year with 85% of the death and 80% new cases occurred in developing countries like Nigeria. He added that, about 80% of women presented in advance stages which made it a leading cause of cancer mortality in Nigeria.
Dr. Olaniyi pinpointed high risk types 16&18 of Humanpapiloma Virus(HPV), as causes of cervical cancer; as he listed multiple Sexual partners, early collarche, multiparity, cigarette smoking, women marriage to uncircumcised men and previous history of sexually transmitted disease as factors responsible for it.
The event also featured demonstration of Breast Self Examination, the students were taught how to check for lumps in their breast with the use of BRECAN’s adopted SEKEM fun dance.
The Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical cancer proposes 90-70-90 targets that must be met by 2030 for countries to be on the path towards cervical cancer elimination.
It includes 90% of girls fully vaccinated with HPV vaccine by age 15 years, 70% of women are screened with a high-performance test by 35 years of age and again by 45 years of age, 90% of women identified with cervical disease receive treatment (90% of women with precancer treated, and 90% of women with invasive cancer managed).
Story Credit: Mary Agidi
Photos: Saidu Abdulrahman