A UK-based medical practitioner, Dr Femi Ogunremi, has urged the three tiers of government in Nigeria to initiate policies that would protect women from developing cancer, thereby saving many lives.
Ogunremi, who made the plea at a free training on Breast Cancer Screening - Using the BREAST-i on Monday in Lagos, said such policies should include investing in simple tools for screening such as BREAST-i, a cancer screening tool. The practitioner is the Chief Executive Officer, Monitor Healthcare Limited (MHL), an international medical technology company.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by MHL in commemoration of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month marked annually throughout October. Ogunremi said:
“BREAST-i is a revolutionary self-use, portable, non-diagnostic screening device used to screen for cancerous lumps in the breast, and a product of years of research. The device is quite useful, because it is a new technology, whereby you use red light to pick abnormal cancer cells. In our society where people cannot afford a lot of the screening such as mammogram, and lack of a national screening, as a first line screening tool this is a way, and it is very useful. It will be a good tool in the hands of our government and useful in poor resource areas of the country. If the government can set up policies to protect our ladies using things like the BREAST-i as a simple tool and get it on the desk of every doctor, it will go a long way to reducing the scourge of cancer…”
Quoting a World Health Organisation 2014 World Cancer Report, he said that breast cancer accounted for about 25 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in women in Sub-Saharan Africa:
“We need to start planning - I see this screening as a way by which we can plan for the eventualities. The free training is our own way of contributing to the fight against the scourge of breast cancer in our society…”
Some participants at the training told NAN that they had been more informed and added value to their practice as healthcare providers. One of them, Mrs Uwem Ummuna, said that the BREAST-i screening tool would go a long way, especially in rural areas where income was low. Ummuna is the Director, Radiography, X-Ray Department, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ebute Meta. According to her, the cost of mammogram is unaffordable by many people, and also the radiation aspect cannot be ruled out:
“I will recommend the BREAST-i for screening as the first step, because radiation is ruled out; then, when people see questionable things like lumps, you can now refer them for mammogram. This will help create massive awareness for early detection…”
Another participant, a pharmacist at the same hospital - Mrs Aderonke Olowo - said that she was more enlightened on what to look out for when using the device:
“I have been using the device, but this training has improved my knowledge so that I can render the services better to my community…”
In his remarks, Dr Kelechi Adeoha, a medical doctor at a Primary Health Centre in Amuwo-Odofin Local Government Area, said that the device would be very promising in reducing the scourge of cancer:
“It is a step ahead of the self breast examination, which individuals can do at home and six-monthly at the clinic. It is a tool that can help detect early cancer of the breast and I think it is a good development which the government can key into…”