The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says breast cancer, like every other cancer, is not demonic but a medical issue that should be treated physically.
The Chairman of the Cross River chapter of the association, Dr Felix Archibong, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar during the Go Pink Day celebration.
It was reported that the Calabar Go Pink Day celebration was to sensitise the people about the dangers of breast cancer and the need for early detection for patient’s survival.
The theme of the celebration for 2023 is: “Reset Breast Cancer, From Screening to Survivorship.”
Archibong, who also urged patients to pray, advised that they should equally visit hospital and get the correct diagnosis, adding that it was unfortunate that most cancer cases were presented late.
“This is an open campaign even to religious bodies, breast cancer is not demonic but a medical issue, so, don’t stop going to church or praying but seek care in a medical facility.
“A lot of people believe the breast is a private part and should not be exposed, this is why we are sensitising people on ways to carry out self breast examination once a month, one week after menstrual flow.
“Also, medical breast examination should be done at least once a year, let it be like your birthday gift to yourself annually, so, you don’t forget because noticing cancer early makes it easier to treat.”
On his part, Mr Yegwa Ukpo, the Executive Director of Asi Ukpo Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Calabar, said the centre were partnering with other organisations to sensitise people on the need to be screened.
Ukpo, who said that ignorance is dangerous, added that the centre has girls as young as 16 and 17 years diagnosed with breast cancer on its treatment list.
According to him, another burden in Nigeria is the lack of enough cancer centres, while the few available ones are overwhelmed.
He said “we also have the challenge of cost of treatment, this is why we have the Asi Ukpo Cancer Assist Foundation geared toward assisting indigent patients.”
Mrs Gedah Etafia, the Secretary of the Pink Africa Foundation, said October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
She added that the foundation partnered with other organisations to embark on breast cancer screening, in addition to teaching women how to carry out breast examination themselves.
She said that although awareness is still low, the foundation is working toward ensuring early detection and how to access care.