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Cancer Survivors’ Day 2018: Cancer Patients Decry Misdiagnosis, Poor Treatment In Nigeria

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Cancer survivors and stakeholders are calling on government to start inspection of medical laboratories and diagnostic centres due to the high level of misdiagnosis of cancer in hospitals and laboratories across Nigeria. This call was made by Runcie C.W. Chidebe, Cancer Control Advocate and Executive Director of Project PINK BLUE during the Cancer Survivors’ Day 2018.

“The level of misdiagnosis in Nigeria is so pathetic and destructive! How can a woman who discovered a lump visit a healthcare and after diagnosis, the healthcare provider tells her that her lump is benign when the lump is actually malignant. The woman will go away and continue to live her life and after one year, another lump shows up and other symptoms. She goes to another hospital and they say it was actually malignant. At this level, the breast cancer has spread to other vital organs of the body. We have also had cases where a healthcare provider is treating a cancer of Triple Negative breast cancer, when actually the women has HER2 positive.

This is very painful for most patients and it has to stop. We need the government to start checking of medical laboratories and diagnostic centres” said Runcie C.W. Chidebe, Cancer Control Advocate and Executive Director of Project PINK BLUE during activities to commemorate Cancer Survivors’ Day 2018 in Abuja.

Cancer Survivor’s Day is an annual worldwide celebration of life that is held each year on the first Sunday in June. It is a special day for cancer survivors, cancer patients, people impacted by cancer, care givers and their family members to celebrate their victory over cancer. The events for the celebrations this year began with Jum’aat prayers at Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Utako, Abuja, on 1st June, 2018. This will be followed by a Get-together and Picnic on 9th Saturday, 2018, at the Millennium Park, Abuja; and Christian thanksgiving on Sunday 17th June, at Summit Bible Church.

Hajia Adesoye, a breast cancer survivor said “I thank Allah for the grace to live beyond breast cancer and I want to urge all Nigerians, including men, to please always go to check yourself. Do breast exams, go do prostate specific antigen and let’s all eat healthy. Cancer is a lifestyle disease, what we eat matters most. ”

Gloria Orji, President of Abuja Breast Cancer Support Group (ABC-SG) and a breast cancer survivor for over 7 years, said: “I am delighted to have survived breast cancer, however, not many cancer patients have the same opportunity; because the cancer treatment facilities are dilapidated and so many cancer patients cannot afford cancer treatment. We are using this opportunity to call on all Nigerians to please help people battling with cancer. Cancer treatment is too expensive, cancer patients keep going around looking for money”.

Sarah Dantsoho, Programme Director, Project PINK BLUE, said ” First Sunday of every June is a day of celebration of life for those who survived cancer and encouragement to those who are passing through their treatment right now. As an organization we call on the Government to make cancer care a priority, although the drugs are very expensive we call on philanthropist, government and pharmaceutical companies to join the fight by making the drugs affordable and accessible”

At the Jum’aat prayer, at NASFAT over 10 cancer survivors and caregivers were at the prayers, they were supported by over 500 Muslim faithfuls. The Imam Sharafadeen Aliagan offered prayers for all the cancer patients and thanked the group for choosing NASFAT.

In 2017, Project PINK BLUE and Abuja Breast Cancer Support Group (ABC-SG) commemorated the Cancer Survivors Day 2017 with various activities, including Jum’at Service at the National Mosques, Abuja, on 2nd June, 2017, a Flashmob at Next Cash N Carry, along Banex-Kado express way, Abuja, Silverbird Galleria, SEC, Abuja on 3rd June, 2018 and a Thanksgiving service at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church on 4th June, 2018. The flash mob video trended for several days as it was posted by Chidinma Ekile and Annie Idibia.

The Abuja Breast Cancer Support Group (ABC-SG) was inaugurated by Project PINK BLUE to provide support, care and connect people impacted by cancer. The group has been engaged in a number of advocacies for better cancer care in Nigeria.

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