The Eldorado Multi-Specialist Hospital premises were filled with men, women, young and old, who came to witness firsthand the magic of cancer detection in Anambra State. It also attracted the presence of the governor of the state Willie Obiano, because it is the first of its kind.
There was the launch of the first digital mammography machine used for early detection of breast cancer in the state by the hospital. The hospital came with a call on Nigerians that cancer is readily preventable and curable when detected early.
The manager and matron of the hospital, Mrs. Isuh Chinelo Francisca, said that after four years of operation, the management decided to acquire a mammography machine to address cases of breast cancer among women in the Southeast zone.
Isuh said the intention of the management was not exploitative in nature, hence the provision of accessible and affordable health care services. With the facility, she said, there would be no reason for people to suffer breast cancer any more if they embarked on routine test of their breasts.
For an oncologist, Dr Brenda Nwamuo, the World Health Organization (WHO), ranked Nigeria as the fourth highest nation devastated by the scourge of breast cancer and other cancer related deaths. Dr. Nwamuo said: ‘WHO records, also reveal that one million new cases are recorded yearly and 4.4 million women are currently living with the disease across the world.
‘The record also shows that an estimated 1.7 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the year 2020, mostly from the developing world, representing a 26 per cent increase from the current level,’ she said.
Nwamuo, of the Radiology Department, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, noted that though cancer remained the commonest disease among women in the black race and Africa, it did not become a death sentence. ‘Breast cancer is a disease, but it does not pose as a death sentence if detected early enough with mammography manned by a competent radiographer and treated appropriately.”
The late symptoms, according to her, include double vision, muscle weakness, headache, nausea, cough, and shortness of breath, jaundice, loss of appetite, weight loss, and bone pain. Governor Obiano said it was the reason his administration started the state Health insurance scheme.
Obiano was represented by Dr Simeon Onyemaechi, the Executive Secretary, Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA). The governor commended the hospital for such innovation, while pledging to partner with it to ensure quality healthcare delivery as envisioned by his government.
He said the government was desirous of turning the state into a medical tourism of some sort. Obiano called for pooling of resources and collaboration among health specialists to set up multi-specialist hospitals, rather than mushroom clinics. He argued that it was the only way to improve health care services.
The practical demonstration of breast cancer detection was carried out by the President of Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, Dr. Ifeoma Ajuba. She pointed out that once breast cancer was detected early enough, it could be prevented.
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