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In Enugu Residents take cancer campaign to streets, urge frequent screening

The campaigners said developing countries bear the greatest burden of the disease due to late detection and lack of info.

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World breast cancer awareness day celebration in Kaduna play

World breast cancer awareness day celebration in Kaduna

(File Photo)

Residents of Enugu on Saturday took the campaign for early cancer detection to major streets of the coal city.

Led by Dr Amaka Nnamani, a consultant radiologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, the cancer walk was in commemoration of Miss Ogechi Atuonwa, who died of lymphoma in her prime in October 2015.

The campaigners marched from Liberty Estate, Independence Layout through Mkponkiti Junction to the adjoining Presidential Road and made a detour at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Nnamani, a cancer advocate with Breast Without Spot Initiative, said the disease knew no age limit.

She said that developing countries bore the greatest burden of the disease due to late detection and lack of the right information.

“Cancer does not spare anybody and does not have age bracket. It can occur in young children.

“The burden of cancer is more in developing countries because people do not detect it early. They come to the hospitals at later stages when the doctors and oncologists cannot do much,” she said.

Nnamani said that the sure way to get rid of the disease was to embark on regular screening for all forms of cancer.

She described the experience as traumatic for the patient, medical personnel and loved ones.

“That is why we are preaching screening so that we can get it early for the person to be cured.

“It is equally necessary for us to change and modify our life styles including the type of food we eat,” Nnamani said.

Speaking, Mrs Maureen Atuonwu, the mother of the victim, said “this cancer walk and awareness is the debt I owe the society as I will not wish anyone to pass through what my daughter and my family passed through.

“Ogechi was a victim of late cancer detection. It was a very horrible and traumatic experience for the whole family. She was in pains till the last day,” she said.

Atuonwu said it was sad that the government was not doing much to combat the disease, adding that there was no support system for cancer patients.

“It is disheartening that there is no cancer centre in Nigeria. The one in Abuja has been overgrown by weeds and people are spending money travelling abroad.

“My appeal is for the government all levels to set up functional cancer centres in all the states or at least in the six geopolitical zones.

“We have human resources but no facilities to take care of cancer patients. The government needs to come to the aid of cancer patients in Nigeria,” Atuonwu said. 

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