By Maria Famakinwa
In her quest to save cancer patients who had retired from government service but are yet to get their entitlements, the wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has promised to intervene.
Mrs Akeredolu, the founder of Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), said she would meet with the State Head of Service, Mr Toyin Akinkuotu to fashion out ways to ensure the prompt payment of pension and retirement benefits of cancer patients, so they could take care of themselves.
Mrs Akeredolu declared this yesterday at a meeting with the Team Survivors Nigeria (TSN) at BRECAN office in Akure.
She noted that those who could have been taking good care of themselves are hampered by financial challenges.
She emphasised that some of the breast cancer patients who are now retired need money to keep fit.
While commending TSN for doing an amazing job of regularly monitoring and educating breast cancer survivors and those still undergoing treatment on what to do Mrs Akeredolu revealed that she decided to establish TSN after attending a seminar in Zambia, in order to localise the experience she acquired and to reiterate that breast cancer is not a death sentence.
Mrs Akeredolu who revealed that gone are the days when breast cancer patients hide their identity, said she was delighted because many can now stand before the camera to say that they are breast cancer patients or survivors.
“I am happy that you are now bold and can face the camera. There was a time in this country that breast cancer patients were afraid to discuss it so that their families and friends will not know their health status. I was the only one then educating people about it.
“Then, if I give flyers to some, they would threw it at me saying God forbid. But today, the awareness is better and many now understand that breast cancer is not a death sentence.”
The founder of BRECAN who urged other survivors to speak out added that it will help to encourage other patients knowing that breast cancer is curable.
She also called on the Federal Government to make provision for cancer patients in the country.
” It has been a very rough road fighting against breast cancer in the country because our healthcare system is inadequate it, therefor, requires everybody’s efforts to put the government on its toes.”
In her opening remarks, Mrs Funmilayo Oluwagbamila revealed that the TSN association which started in April 2018 with 10 survivors and five cancer patients presently has 20 participants and 30 people on the whatsapp group.
While advising them to always take care of themselves, she added that the treatment of cancer is not as serious as the psychological trauma cancer patients subject themselves to.
She, therefore urged them to always be careful because cancer is no longer a death sentence if detected early and appropriate steps are taken
Speaking on re-occurrence and metastases of cancer, retired Chief Matron, Ondo State Specialist Hospital Akure, Mrs Funke Osho explained that re -occurrence is when cancer comes back after being treated and metastases is when it’s spread to other areas of the body.
According to her, “you should know that cancer can re-occur after a week, month but a school of thought says that it can re-occur after two years. It re- occurs because small area of cancer cells can remain after operation and spread to other organs of the body due to blood supply.” She advised cancer patients and survivors to make it a point of duty by visiting, the doctor at least once in a month and exercise regularly.
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