The Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA) on Sunday joined in the campaign for women to go for breast cancer check-up regularly. Dr Feyisayo Daji, the NOWA Co-ordinator, Western Naval Command, advocated for early detection among women by going for annual screening, imaging and engaging in monthly self-help breast examination to detect the disease early. “If you are above 40, you need to screen with mammogram yearly, so that as soon as anything is detected, you go further in the imaging; if it is cancer, it can be dealt with early. If you are below 40, I advocate the self-help breast examination every month after your monthly period to see if there is any abnormality,’’ she said.
Daji said that early detection and seeking help from qualified personnel could save lives, stressing that husbands should support their wives by speaking up early and not to patronise unorthodox places that do not guarantee help. “Husbands should not let their wives go to unorthodox places where they claim they cure cancer and are made to drink all sorts of things. At the end, these women come to the hospital late and you hear that they died; they didn’t die because of the disease, they died because they came at the time that nothing could be done. Survival rate, if detected early, is as high as 98 per cent,’’ she noted.
Deji also said that some women die because of some religious beliefs, thereby presenting the case late. “I urge women not to keep mum over such issues. The survival rate in Nigeria is low because of late presentation. Some wish it away and this idea has religious undertone and that’s why some don’t go to hospital early enough,’’ she said. She thanked the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas and NOWA President, Theresa Ibas, for making it possible to organise the programme and providing the imaging centre. “I want to appreciate the CNS, who has provided what it takes to fight breast cancer. I say so because we have the best you can think of in imaging to detect breast cancer no matter how small it is.
“I also want to appreciate NOWA President who is the convener of the programme and her resilience in trying to ensure that people that need attention in any area of their lives, not just for cancer, get it. The orphans, the widows; she is always there to give her best and that’s why she does a lot to make sure that this programme holds every year,’’ Daji said. The Command’s NOWA coordinator said that the awareness was important because everyone needed to stand up to face and fight the menace in the society. Mrs Preye Dick, the Director of NOWA, Lagos Zone, also urged women to have regular check-ups in order to detect cancer early and get treated.
“It is good for women to check themselves; some women don’t even know how to check themselves in the house. This programme is good and enlightening,’’ she said. Prof. Rachael Akinola, of the Lagos State University College of Medicine, also said that women should get checked regularly in order to detect the disease at the early stage. Akinola, who is the president of Breast Imagining Society of Nigeria, listed some of the symptoms of breast cancer to include abnormal growth in the breast, discharge from the nipples and one breast bigger than the other.