Breast cancer is a disease that involves abnormal breast cells, resulting in excess growth and forming tumors. If left untreated, the tumors can spread to the whole body and cause death. It can affect both genders, but it’s persistent in women.
Symptoms of breast cancer are a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, milk rejection, fluid coming from the nipple or a red or scaly patch of skin. Individuals with a distant spread of the disease may experience bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, difficulty breathing, or yellow skin.
Breast Cancer Statistics In Nigeria
Nigeria, as a lower-middle-income nation, has breast cancer as the prominent malignancy among women, constituting 22.7% of all recent cancer cases. In 2018, there were 12,000 deaths, making it the highest breast cancer mortality rate globally.
Massive support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has led to advancements in diagnosing and treating breast cancer. There are now higher breast cancer survival rates due to earlier detection, a new customized approach to treatment, and a better understanding of the disease, reducing the number of deaths related to the disease. This is where the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) comes to the rescue.
Breast Cancer Association Of Nigeria (BRECAN)
Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) is a top non-governmental, non-religious, and non-political organization committed to reducing breast cancer in Nigeria through sustained Public Education, Patients’ Support, Advocacy, and Research.
BRECAN and other medical experts have endorsed the Special Insurance Scheme as a remedy to a rising mortality rate of cancer patients nationwide. The alarming rise in cancer-related deaths has become a concern for medical experts, who believe it is due to the high cost of treatment access.
‘Jog for Life’ Sensitization Campaign
BRECAN has initiated sensitization campaigns, known as the ‘Jog for life,’ organized to coincide with commemorating the 2023 Breast Cancer Day held nationwide. The ‘Jog for Life,’ which involved medical experts, students from several institutions across Oyo State, and Corps members, commenced at the State Secretariat of the NYSC and ended at Islamic High School Orita Basorun, Ibadan.
Advocacy For Special Insurance Scheme (SISC)
The State Coordinator of BRECAN, Ambassador Ambassador Tolu Taiwo, briefly expressed concern over the high cost of receiving cancer treatment by the patients. She linked this development to the rising mortality rate among the patients and, hence, advocated the establishment of the Special Insurance Scheme.
Ambassador Taiwo claimed that SISC could assist the patients in getting funds for their treatment. She, therefore, explained that the Federal government and its agencies should cooperate with other donors locally and internationally to address the surge.
Ambassador Taiwo also emphasized that people should know their health status because cancer is not a death sentence, and its early detection and medicare can save patients’ lives.
She says, “The religious beliefs of our people are not helping matters as some issues that ought to be handled medically are being taken to the altars .”
Moreover, the State Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps, Mr. Odiba Abel Oche, during his speech, emphasized the importance of the sensitization program, claiming that ignorance has killed many individuals in the past.
He said, “Over 55 Corps members are participating in the exercise. The aim is for them to take the campaign to their respective places of primary assignment.”
Also, the wife of the Ondo state government, Mrs Betty Anyawu Akeredolu, emphasized the importance of early detection of cancer symptoms. She said that if it is discovered early, it can reduce the mortality, which is slowly becoming severe.
BRECAN and medical experts in Nigeria are promoting a Special Insurance Scheme (SISC) to tackle the high mortality rate of breast cancer patients.
They’ve developed initiatives such as the ‘Jog for Life’ campaign to raise awareness and teach early detection. Partnerships with government and international donors are sought to reduce financial burdens. This detailed approach aims to minimize breast cancer-related deaths in Nigeria.