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After cancer comes financial, psychological stress, group advocates support centres for families

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AFTER Terngu Uduezue lost her mother to cancer in February, she developed a deep interest in advocacy, especially in the provision of counselling centres to reduce the plight and pain of families that battle with the disease.

Dance Against Cancer, an event organised by Project Mum Nigeria, in collaboration with Project Pink Blue, a cancer-fighting non-profit organisation, held on Saturday at Millenium Park, Abuja.

Speaking at the event, Uduezue whose mother died seven months after been diagnosed said late detection of the cancer disease took her life at an early age.

While the disease had placed huge financial burden with lots of psychological stress, Uduezue said she realised there is no counselling centre to support families in the condition.

“I know what these families are going through. Up till now my family is still trying to pick up the pieces,” she said.

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. The most common are cancers of the lung, breast, colorectal, prostrate, stomach and skin.

Cancers caused the death of 41,000 Nigerians in 2018, according to World Health Organisation, about 160,000 new cases were also recorded.

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Mampak Nanre, Coordinator of Post-Basic Oncology Programme at the National Hospital Abuja, who gave a health talk on the disease said late detection of cancer in an individual could result in complications and death.

“Cancer is not a death sentence”,”she said adding that early detection and effective treatment would safe lives.

“The cancer burden can also be reduced through early detection of cancer and management of patients who develop cancer. Many cancers have a high chance of cure if diagnosed early and treated adequately,” WHO also noted.

Mampak Nanre addresses the female participants on Saturday on how to do a self-breast examination

As breast cancer stands as the major type affecting Nigerian women, Nanre described how females should do a self-breast examination while standing. She urged the women to do the examination every month, three days after the menstruation for those who have not reached the menopause.

“Women carry breast but they don’t know their breasts,” said Nanre urging them to study their breasts’ shape, size and colour of any milk discharge.

She explained that breast cancer is the abnormal growth in the cell that forms the breast tissues.

Abia Udeme, an assistant director at the the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs who represented Dame Pauline Taline, the Minister by delivering the keynote address said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had declared cancer a priroity in the health sector.

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Udeme claimed that the FG commitment “has encouraged the establishment of oncology unit in the various health centres in the country to aid the treatment of various cancers”.

The minister’s representative said research has shown that six out of every 10 cancers in Nigeria are women cancer.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Nwagboso, the Partnership and Advocacy Lead of Project Pink Blue said there has not been enough funding for the prevention, treatment and management of cancer disease in Nigeria. Nwagboso who also lost his dad to prostrate cancer in December 2018 said federal government is also yet to focus on support system for the families.

He said his NGO have registered 53 people to its support group to address psychological and socio-economical problem surrounding cancer.

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