…as Dr Uko harps on regular breast examination/ preventive measures
As part of effort to reduce the rise of cancer in Nigeria and the World, a Non- Governmental Organisation, Queenette Initiative For Health And Education (QIHE) in collaboration with Smart Health Compass Foundation has sensitised students of St. Mary’s Science College, Ediene Abak, Abak Local government Area on the deadly disease, its dangers and the way out.
Speaking during the school awareness campaign, tagged “Increasing young women’s knowledge of Breast Health and Breast Cancer” on October 7th. An expert, a preventive health physician, Executive Director, Smart Health Compass Foundation, Dr. Udauk Uko, explained that Breast Cancer is a disease of the breast in which the breast cells grow out of control.
Dr. Uko said the theme, “Give Hope, Save Lives” was necessitated by the increased deaths recorded as the result of late detection of cancer in the body. She urged teenagers to always preach and create awareness on cancer in their various societies, as they can save lives by telling others.
She informed that her organisation embarked on the awareness because of the suffering women passed through. “I believe prevention is cheaper, less stressful and safer than the cure. I’m coming all the way from Port Harcourt because I know a lot of people, male and female are dying of cancer every month.”
The Port Harcourt Base medical practitioner, explained that, being a woman, no matter how young or old is a risk factor for developing a Breast Cancer. “As you are growing you stand a risk of developing Breast Cancer, it occur at any age, sometimes it follow family lineage.
Girls who are less than twelve years having menarchie are predispose to breast cancer later in life, you can see that cancer is not a thing to joke with.”
“According to World Health Organisation WHO, more than 5% of Breast Cancer are seen in young girls. I want you to be advocates, fight the course and teach others what you have learnt today.”
Dr. Uko however noted that the month of October is celebrated annually as breast cancer awareness campaign month, hence her quest to enlighten the students on the need for prevention.
The medical expert, herself an, alumnus of the college advised that all cases of breast symptoms should be reported to the hospital for further evaluation as some symptoms may not be that of breast cancer.
She warned young girls against smoking, drinking or taking of family planning pills to prevent pregnancy, saying indulging in such act can predispose them to breast Cancer later in life.
The Executive Director Queenette Initiative For Health And Education (QIHE), Obongawan Mmaobong Akpan who doubles as an alumnus and Vice President of SMACO Old Student Association (SOSA) described the outreach as very timely and well intentioned, explaining that the whole idea is to drum it into the consciousness of people that “Prevention is better than cure.”
Obongawan Mmaobong said her foundation is working assiduously towards reducing cancer prevalence among young girls and beyond through cancer prevention, management, research and advocacy activities.
Dissecting the sign and symptoms of cancer to the understanding, assimilation and admiration of participants, the front line humanitarian service worker said change in size, shape of the breast, redness of breast, inverted nipple, nipple discharge, breast lump among others are common signs and symptoms of the dreaded disease, which if early detected is treatable and curable.
She stressed that their programs are designed to raise Health related programs ( HIV and AIDS, TB, Malaria, Governance/Human rights, Women’s Right, Education and Orphans and Vulnerable children’s programs OVC). In the society; provide easy access to cancer screening, diagnosis, management; and enhance the quality of life of cancer patients in our rural communities.
Responding, Mrs Udauk Bassey Sunday, Vice Principal, special duty of the college said that the awareness campaign was a step in the right direction, noted that with a proper sensitisation and enlightenment on the risk involved in the disease, the world might live a cancer-free life. She used the occasion to called on other Alumni of the college to identify with the young stars and see areas they can assist to help them achieve their dreams in life.
Both organisations expressed their gratitude to Mrs Mmokutima Femi who is a philanthropist and also an Alumnus who was the Girls’ Senior Prefect during her set donated Always sanitary pads that was distributed to all the female student that were in attendance as part of her support to encourage them in their quest to succeed.